We all know the feeling, the post arrives and all it contains is offers of house insurance, car insurance, loans, credit cards, and leaflets.

Did you know that there are ways to reduce the amount of junk mail, phone calls and fax’s (and even emails) that is easy to do and works well? We will take you through the process for reducing the amount of unwanted post that comes through your letterbox each day.

Junk Mail.

There are three main ways to reduce the amount of junk mail that you receive in the post. These are :-

Mailing Preference Service

The mailing preference service (MPS) is funded by the direct mail industry and allows consumers to have their names and home addresses in the UK removed from lists that are used by companies that send out mail shots.

The people that own the mailing lists and the people that use these lists are supposed to check their lists against the MPS list of names and addresses on a regular basis and remove anyone that is on the MPS list.

You can register for the MPS list by visiting the mailing preference service web site and completing the online form. You should remember that it can take several weeks for the registration to take effect. It is claimed that this will remove you from up to 95% of direct mail lists in the UK.

Electoral Roll

Everyone that registers to vote in the UK has their name and address added to the electoral roll and until recently anyone (business, organisation or individual) could buy a copy of the register and use this as a source of names and addresses for mailing lists.

Nowadays there are two versions of the electoral roll and each version can be used in different ways.

Full Electoral Register

The full register contains the names and addresses of everyone registered to vote and anyone can look at it. However copies of the roll can only be supplied for certain purposes such as elections and law enforcement. Credit checking agencies can also check the full register but only to see if your name and address appears on the register if you are applying for credit.

The Edited Electoral Register

The second version of the electoral roll is called the “edited register”, this is available for general sale and can be used for any purpose including mailing lists. You can choose not to be on the edited register and this is done by ticking the box on the voter registration form that is sent out by local councils each year. By ticking this box you are removing yourself from the register that forms the basis of many mailing lists.

Royal Mail Door to Door Service

The Royal Mail offer a service to businesses that allows them to have an item delivered to every address on a post round. This is called the “Door to Door” service, and you may have noticed that you get lots of post addressed to “The Occupier” without any postage on, or you may even have received leaflets through the door with your normal post – these have taken advantage of the Door to Door service.

It is possible to opt out of this by writing to the Royal Mail saying that you would “like to opt out of receiving Door to Door items“. The address to write to is :-

Door to Door Opt Outs
Royal Mail
Kingsmead House
Oxpens Road

It is possible that by opting out of this service you may not receive information from local councils or national government.

Coupons & Order Forms

Whenever you fill out a coupon or an order that asks you to give your address details to a company they are legally obliged to give you the option of not having your details passed on to other companies. You should read the form carefully as some forms will ask you to tick a box if you do not want your details passed on, while other forms may ask you to tick the box if you do want your details passed on.

And finally…

There are two things that you can do with your junk mail.

The first is to recycle the letters and envelopes (remember that you may want to remove your name and address from any letters first), this is the “green” thing to do and helps the environment by reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill or incinerators.

The second option (and some would say, more satisfying) is to mark the envelope “Return to Sender” and put it back in the post for it to be delivered back to the company that sent it.

More details on what you can do to stop junk mail are on the “seven things you can do to stop junk mail” page at stopjunkmail.org.uk