I’m not a big fan of junk mail. In part, I don’t ever order from catalogs; even if I quite like an online company, I’m just going to buy their stuff online (even if they send me a catalog). So, it takes some mental processing to sort through junk mail at the end of a day at the office; I’d also rather not fill up landfills with paper, if I can help it.
Enter GreenDimes (well, now the company is calling themselves Tonic Mailstopper):
For $15 [now $20], GreenDimes offers a series of services that you could probably do yourself, but which become much, much easier if you get GreenDimes to help you. Here’s how it works:
First, you register your address and all the names which receive junk mail at your house. Then GreenDimes goes to work, filing letters on your behalf to the thousands of direct marketers to remove you from their mailing lists. That works for credit card mailings and the like, but not for catalogs. Those you have to unsubscribe from individually, so when you get a catalog you no longer want, you visit the GreenDimes website and select the name of the company spamming you. GreenDimes then tells them to cut it out. […]
It does take a couple weeks to start working—due to the printing lead-times for junk mail—though I started noticing small improvements even within a few days. Now, it’s been a couple months since I signed up and I can say that it's worked a treat. Some days, I go to open my mailbox and simply discover that it’s empty. Bliss.
Along these lines, one other service that may be worth mentioning is YellowPagesGoesGreen.Org. On one hand, it’s an advocacy site for curbing yellow-pages distribution (such as by promoting an opt-in model), but what's also handy is that they have an opt-out form in which you can unsubscribe from the yellow pages.
Though they’re not associated with the various yellow-pages companies, they apparently then contact the phone companies in your local area, on your behalf, and get you unsubscribed from your local yellow (and/or white) pages. Since yellow pages don’t arrive with as much regularity as junk mail, I can’t say with absolute certainty that it’s successful, but I signed up back in September (’08) and I haven’t received a yellow-pages since then.