How to stop junk mail in 5 steps

how to stop junk mailAhhhh, this weeks change the world Wednesday challenge is a topic close to my heart.

We’re going to be learning how to stop junk mail.

Don’t you hate the stuff?

Small Footprints gives the simple request “Get your name off catalogue and junk-mail lists“.

About 21 billion items (550,000 tonnes) of junk mail are sent out every year in the UK and advertisers know that 99.7 per cent of recipients throw it away unread. They think it’s worth it for the 0.3 per cent who might. Wow!

If you’re wondering how to stop junk mail here in the UK, it’s a bit complex because there are three main types  – addressed direct mail, unaddressed direct mail  and direct mail.

It’s not a one step process, however it is straight forward. If you’re pushed for time, why not take one of these steps each week?

How to stop junk mail

Contact the company

If a specific company is sending you catalogues, junk mail, begging letters or direct avertising, contact that company directly and ask them to remove your details from their database. They are obliged to do so by law.

Mail Preference Service

Once you register with them, the Mail Preference Service (MPS) will stop 95% of addressed direct mail. Addressed direct mail is sent out from companies who have bought your details on a database or is the result of you signing up for a company and ticking the box that says ‘from time to time we might send you mail from carefully selected companies…’

To stop addressed direct mail, go to the MPS and register for free. Or call them on 0845 703 4599 to request an application form.

Opt Out

If you want to stop leaflets and unaddressed mail being delivered by Royal Mail write to:


Door to Door Opt Outs

Royal Mail

Kingsmead House

Oxpens Road



or send an email to [email protected] and request their ‘door-to-door opt-out form’. If you prefer to telephone then call 08457 950950.

Once this type of junk mail stops, it’s important to remember that registration only takes you off the list for two years. You’ll need to re register to keep your name on the opt out register.

Unaddressed mail

If you get any mail addressed to ‘the occupier’ or ‘the householder’ with your address on it, this is called ‘direct mail’ rather than ‘unaddressed mail’ and unfortunately the Post Office are legally obliged to deliver it.

For this type of junk mail, there is nothing you can do except return it to sender. If enough of us do this (especially if we use their prepaid envelopes to send it all back in) then the company might just get the message as they have to pay to have mail returned to them.

Get a sticker

For junk mail that has nothing to do with Royal Mail, such as leaflet drops from local companies and takeaway menus, you’ll need to put a sticker on your letter box. There are some great ones on the Stop Junk Mail Site.

Local companies do not have access to the Mailing Preference Service (MPS) register so will just post to all households in the area.

How much junk mail do you get in a week?


  1. Chris on August 21, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    I did all these about a year ago,the mail preferencing kind of works. The postman managed to deliver the card that should be on my cubbyhole at the sorting office too say I should no longer get junkmail so I had to give it back to him,he does not deliver the junkmail but relief postman do. I have 2 no junk mail stickers on my front door but often have to convince the delivery person I really don’t want it.
    Can we have a hall of shame for catalogue company’s don;t shop at SCOTTS of STOW I bought 2 blankets last year the send a new catalogue about once a fortnight, I have phoned, e-mailed and written to them now I am sending all catalogues back to the chief executive in recycled envelopes with no stamp.
    Sorry about the rant I find it really frustating

  2. Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking on August 22, 2013 at 2:32 am

    Great tips! We have pretty much accomplished this but it has taken awhile. Sure wish I had known all of these good tips a few years ago. Would have accomplished this task much faster!

  3. Mrs Green on August 22, 2013 at 6:52 am

    @Chris: Thanks Chris – you certainly can name and shame. For me it’s BT (they’ve been sending junk mail to me for about 8 years), Viking Direct (seem to think that after you’ve ordered one thing you want monthly catalogues) and charity catalogues that send you more crap in the post than the value of your monthly donation