100 Million Trees Killed for Junk Mail Each Year

Junk mail destroys 100 million trees and creates 50 million tons of greenhouse gases per year. Most of it goes straight to a landfill. Here’s how to opt out:

The average American household receives 1.5 trees-worth of junk mail (848 pieces) every year.

That’s more than 100 million trees for all U.S. households combined —
the equivalent of deforesting three Rocky Mountain National Parks per year.

Largely due to deforestation, junk mail manufacturing creates as much greenhouse gas emissions annually as 9 million cars, or every car in Los Angles and New York City combined.

Almost 80 percent of junk mail (over 5 million tons per year) ends up in a landfill, most of it unopened.

The small percentage of junk mail and catalogs that are recyclable use 28 billion gallons of water per year in the recycling process.

Americans spend $370 million annually to dispose of unwanted mail.

Ready to stop the madness? It’s easy.

The Story of Stuff Project has a free online service called Catalog Choice that helps you opt-out of unwanted catalogs and other junk mail.

Since its launch in 2007, the project has kept over a million trees in the ground, a billion pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere, and tons and tons of paper waste out of landfills.

Spread the word!





35 responses to “100 Million Trees Killed for Junk Mail Each Year”

  1. Nancy Avatar

    where are our law makers? We all want Junk mail to stop we know it’s a huge waste. How do we get it to stop? We aren’t asking for it and we can’t opt out. What is the solution?

    1. c4ward2 Avatar

      Some people solve this problem by renting a box with the Post Office (a P.O. Box).

      1. Shannon E. Peters Avatar
        Shannon E. Peters

        you still get junk mail at the P.O. Box; the “local ad & coupon mill” for instance. unbelievable 🙁

        1. Joe Avatar

          You can call your local Post Office and have them take you off their delivery list for *local ad and coupon mill*.

          Anything else not on the Junk Mail site, open the letter and phone the 800 number to unsubscribe to their postal mailings.

          1. jenny smith Avatar
            jenny smith

            my local PO said they don’t have an opt out. Frustrating. I heard that the post master makes money off this mass mailing of landfill waste.

        2. Ap Avatar

          And toy get the catalogs from the previous box owner and since they say “or current resident” the post office has to put them in there.

      2. Janice Avatar

        We have a PO Box (it is mandatory since we live in a small town with no mail delivery) and it is always stuffed with junk mail. As soon as people collect their mail they immediately proceed to the trash can and throw the junk mail away!
        Junk mail is Terrible! I heard that you could pay a fee and have it stopped being delivered. Not sure about that.

        1. MsPat Avatar

          Ridiculous to have to pay for stopping something you never asked for nor wanted!

      3. L PoVey Avatar
        L PoVey

        You still get junk mail. Trust me. 9 years with one and i get it all the time

  2. Fran Scott Avatar

    I’ve reduced my junk mail to only those catalogs that I use. When junk comes addressed to ‘occupant’,’homeowner’ or some other non ID’d person, I don’t know what to do.

  3. Elena Kilgore Avatar
    Elena Kilgore

    Stop this madness!!
    No more junk mail please, we do no need more waste

  4. Amber Avatar

    We are killing our planet with junk mail. STOP

  5. Provy Carrion Avatar

    Travel in the state of NY & Mass.see to many fresh cut, it was sad too see. Will all those that has fall or broken, why not Colette all does down all ride and leave the good along.

  6. Susann Sinkiewicz Avatar
    Susann Sinkiewicz

    Stop this horrible waste. Use email instead

  7. Anne Avatar

    Sadly, folks at the USPS refer to junk mail as “bulk mail,” as it comprises a large portion of the paper materials delivered by mailmen to homes these days. In other words, there are a lot of high-ranking civil service employees in the postal service whose salaries depend on bulk mail staying around as long as possible. Further, did you know that a post office’s postmaster is eligible to receive end of year cash bonuses based in part on the volume of mail his/her postal carriers deliver that year? It’s crazy.

    1. Amanita Avatar

      WOW, I had no idea!

  8. Janet Avatar

    We get local grocery ads twice a week and our postmaster said multiple times over the year we can’t opt out!!!

  9. Chris Brown Avatar

    It would look that way, but it is really materialism. Life is a spiritual event that needs limited materials. Materialism has infinite wants.

    Placing needs over wants is needed.

    The dynamics of that are something the church is against. The links between church and state dictate and enable that the church’s fear of spirituality keep materialism the focus of society.

  10. Freeman Dryden Avatar
    Freeman Dryden


    Your webpage is overloaded with SPAM TRAPS masquerading as YOUR links. Only AFTER I clicked what appeared to be YOUR LINK to «Stop Junk Mail» did I discover that I’d actually «AUTO-SUBSCRIBED» to a SPAM SITE!

    This is PIRACY of the most despicable sort! STOP IT!

  11. Joyce Avatar

    I hardly ever post or comment, but this one has me thinking. Trees are a renewable source of jobs! Not only for the people who make paper, but for my mailman hubby and mother! Mailmen buy things, pay for services (like AC repair), and pay taxes. By purchasing things and paying taxes, people who work at paper manufacturing and distribution places as well as the men and women at the post office help pay for others to have jobs…..like me! Technology has taken enough jobs from people. So bring on the junk mail. I don’t hear the DEFORESTATION people wanting to stop packaging, paper plates, and toilet paper. Not one complaint on this post about the beloved take away pizza box either. Why do they go after the postal workers and those who choose to advertise with the USPS?

    1. VA Avatar

      Well, people actually want toilet paper and go out and buy it, for one. The vast majority of Americans do not want junk mail, since most is unopened. How about letting everyone opt-in or opt-out and then YOU can have junk mail and I don’t have to?

    2. Tamara Avatar

      Because it’s just WASTE! It goes from the mailbox to the landfill! Technology has evolved past paper advertising and no one reads it. It is pure WASTE! I hear you on the pizza box and toilet paper but at least they serve a purpose. Keeping jobs is not a good enough reason to keep destroying the planet unnecessarily.

  12. Beth Avatar

    I hate getting nothing but junk mail. I burn it in our outdoor wood stove and keep us warm but its still annoying.

  13. Frances Avatar

    In Australia we can put a sign on our letter boxes that reads; “No Junk Mail” or “No Advertising Material”. It works. Can you do that? I think your request would have to be respected as your letter box is part of your property, on your property.

    1. Lois Avatar

      Can’t be done in the US. If it has an address it has to be delivered. The mailers who produce the flyers pay the PO to deliver. You can opt out by calling the business to remove your name from the mailing list

  14. Pamela Younge Avatar
    Pamela Younge

    Why create something that is only going to be thrown in the trash, that costs so much to generate. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I am sick and tired of commercials, junk mail, telemarketing calls, etc. that invades my life every few minutes of every single day. It’s boring and monotonous and most of all useless. Television and radio are ridiculous, interrupting shows not only for the 4 or 5 minute commercials every seven minutes, but then they throw in the long ass infomercials that last so long you don’t even remember what you were watching or listening to. We pay cable, dish or satellite ridiculous amounts of money to watch TV, Why do we have to put up with these stupid ads that don’t do anything but frustrate the hell out of us. Sometimes, I actually scream out loud I’m so fed up with it, and it just gets worse!!!!!! My mailbox should not be used for other people’s purposes, unless I specify and choose what can be delivered into it. Humans have got to stop wasting resources out of stupidity and habit. STOP!

  15. Patricia Gregory Avatar
    Patricia Gregory

    No one reads or purchases your advertisements. Just STOP already!

  16. Bonnie Avatar

    If junk mail is stopped, there will be NO postal service. It’s best to demand recycled products

  17. Yvonne Avatar

    Great concept-any idea if there is a sister organization for Canadians?

  18. Yvonne Avatar

    Great concept, any idea if there is a sister organization for canadians

  19. Jamie S Leitner Avatar
    Jamie S Leitner

    How do I stop junk mail from coming to my home I actually have house delivery and box delivery and I get tired of asking them not to put stuff in my box

  20. William A Wright Avatar
    William A Wright

    I hate junk mail, why should I have to collect this trash from my mail box everyday. Trump complains about Amazon causing the USPS to be bankrupt. Charge a flat rate for ALL mail and the volume would drop to nothing. Cut back to two or three deliveries a week, save a crap ton of money and we don’t have to pay for USPS solvency. That is the Irony, we are paying in our taxes to subsidize trash being put in our mail box every day.

  21. Eleanor Mattice Avatar
    Eleanor Mattice

    I couldn’t tell how to stop junk mail by this site.

  22. Jean Avatar

    It’s disgraceful. I stand at my garbage can every day and throw it all away.and I feel guilty. I feel sorry for the mailman too lugging all that around. What a waste of precious resources.