Junk Mail
Junk Mail

The Problem

Over 100 billion pieces of junk mail are delivered in the U.S. every year. That’s about 300 unwanted mailings per person! Unfortunately, junk mail is more than a nuisance.

The environmental impacts are staggering. Each year, junk mail uses an estimated 111 million trees and enough water to fill 160,000 Olympic swimming pools, all while producing as much CO2 as 2.3 million cars. In addition, disposing and recycling unsolicited mail costs governments and taxpayers over a quarter of a billion dollars annually.

The Solution

PSI works to pass “extended producer responsibility" (EPR) legislation for packaging and paper products to provide sustainable funding for junk mail recycling. EPR programs shift this burden from governments and taxpayers to junk mail producers, who are putting their paper products on the market in the first place.

There is also considerable consumer demand for a convenient, effective opt-out solution for junk mail and phone books. PSI supports a national “do not mail” registry as a convenient one-stop solution to help you control the junk that winds up in your mailbox. We also support opt-in systems that ensure marketing materials are only delivered to people who want them. Opt in is a win for businesses, too, because they can tailor their ads for a willing audience to boost sales and make superior offerings to customers.

Junk mail is also a threat to your personal security. Identity thieves can attempt to activate pre-approved credit or insurance offers for their own use. Even personalized advertisements that contain identifying information can put you at risk.

How We’re Leading the Way


PSI provides legislative assistance and policy models to support the creation and passage of EPR legislation. We provide expert testimony, lobbying, and coalition building to support and improve bills throughout the legislative process. During the past 15 years, we have led discussions with governments across the U.S. to develop a menu of legislative elements for effective EPR legislation for packaging and paper products.


We raise awareness of existing opt-out solutions. We partnered with Catalog Choice to run a successful opt-out pilot project in Cambridge and Brookline, Massachusetts. This initiative led to the creation of more than 1,800 new Catalog Choice accounts and reduced 252 tons of solid waste in one year.


Our educational resources highlight the social, environmental, and economic problems associated with junk mail. Governments nationwide use our infographic to inform consumers about existing opt-out solutions to reduce the unwanted mail that they receive.

How You Can Help

Contact PSI for assistance to create and pass an EPR law for packaging and paper products.

Reducing the junk mail you receive can help keep your personal information secure. Opt out of pre-screened credit and insurance offers at OptOutPrescreen.com, the official consumer credit reporting industry website for opt-out requests. You can opt out of other forms of direct mail with Catalog Choice and DMA Choice.

Encourage opt-out in your community. PSI’s handy infographic explains why junk mail is more than a nuisance and tells you how to opt out.

Contact the companies sending you direct mail to demand that they only send advertisements to people who have signed up. That way, people who want to receive paper marketing materials receive them – and those of us who don’t, won’t.

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