In 2002, the UK Minister of State responsible for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs estimated that direct mail promotions accounted for between 500,000 and 600,000 tonnes of wasted paper.
Recycling targets were put in place by the government and the Direct Marketing Association (UK) with a goal of 55% by 2009. According to latest estimates, the industry will fall well short off this target.
If you're in the UK, to stop getting junk mail through your letterbox, get in touch with the Mailing Preference Service (MPS). This is a free service set up around 20 years ago and funded by the direct mail industry to enable consumers to have their names and home addresses in the UK removed from or added to lists used by the industry. It is actively supported by the Royal Mail and all directly involved trade associations and fully supported by The Information Commissioners Office.
If you're getting junk mail that is addressed to 'the Occupier' and no name is used then you can also write directly to the Royal Mail and ask them to opt your address out of any direct mails. Their address is as follows:
Door to door opt outs
Be advised though that the Royal Mail state that any unaddressed government mailings cannot be separated from advertisements, and anyone who opts out of the latter will stop receiving the former too.
Opting out of receiving junk mail helps reduce the amount of junk mail sent which, in turn, helps reduce the amount of trees that are being cut down. Help stop deforestation - opt out now.