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Keep Your Sanity While Being Eco-Friendly: Eliminate Unwanted Junk Mail, Spam and Telemarketing Calls

July 23, 2013. Lisa Doty, recycling coordinator for Watauga County, recently compiled a list of ways to reduce unwanted junk mail, spam and telemarketing phone calls. 

“My position is to help people learn how to reduce, reuse and recycle. [Junk mail] is a big part of reductions, and it helps keep your sanity,” Doty said on Tuesday. “This is a great way to reduce the amount of waste we are creating.”

She said the steps listed below to opt out of receiving junk mail, spam and phone calls from telemarketers is – for the most part – a “very simple process.” 

Release from Doty: 

Just Say ‘No’ To Unsolicited Junk Mail, Spam and Phone Calls

Are you tired of having your mailbox crammed with unsolicited mail, including preapproved credit card applications? Fed up with getting telemarketing calls just as you’re sitting down to dinner? Fuming that your email inbox is chock-full of unsolicited advertising?

“If you’re interested in living a more eco-friendly lifestyle with a whole lot less waste, here’s something you can do that will help protect the environment and preserve your sanity,” says Watauga County Recycling Manager Lisa Doty.  “Everyone can cut down on the number of unsolicited mailings, calls, and emails you receive by learning where to go to “just say no.”


If you decide that you don’t want to receive prescreened offers of credit and insurance, you have two choices:  you can opt out of receiving them for five years or opt out of receiving them permanently.

  • To opt out for five years:  Call toll-free 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit www.optoutprescreen.com.  The phone number and website are operated by the major consumer reporting companies.
  • To opt out permanently:  You may begin the permanent Opt-Out process online at www.optoutprescreen.com.  To complete your request, you must return the signed “Permanent Opt-Out Election Form”, which will be provided after you initiate your online request.

When you call or visit the website, you’ll be asked to provide certain personal information, including your name, phone number, Social Security number and date of birth. The information you provide is confidential and will be used only to process your request to opt out.  If you don’t have access to the Internet, you may send a written request to permanently opt out to each of the major consumer reporting companies.  Make sure your request includes name, telephone number, Social Security number and date of birth.

  • Experian:  Experian Opt Out, P.O. Box 919, Allen, TX 75013
  • TransUnion:  Trans Union Name Removal Option, P.O. Box 505,Woodlyn, PA 19094
  • Equifax, Inc.:  Equifax Options, P.O. Box 740123, Atlanta, GA 30374
  • Innovis Consumer Assistance:  Innovis Customer Service, P.O. Box 495, Pittsburgh, PA 15230


Telemarketing:  The federal government’s National Do Not Call Registry is a free, easy way to reduce the telemarketing calls you get at home.  To register your phone number or to get information about the registry, visit www.donotcall.gov, or call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number you want to register.  You will get fewer telemarketing calls within 31 days of registering your number.  Telephone numbers on the registry will only be removed when they are disconnected and reassigned, or when you choose to remove a number from the registry.

Mail:   The Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Mail Preference Service lets you opt out of receiving unsolicited commercial mail from many national companies for five years.  When you register with this service, your name will be put on a “delete” file and made available to direct-mail marketers and organizations.  This will reduce most of your unsolicited mail. However, your registration will not stop mailings from organizations that do not use the DMA’s Mail Preference Service.  To register with DMA’s Mail Preference Service, go to www.dmachoice.org, or mail your request with a $1 processing fee to:  DMAchoice, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512.

You also can contact companies that you are receiving catalogs and mailing from directly to request being removed from their mailing list. 

Email:  The DMA also has an Email Preference Service to help you reduce unsolicited commercial emails.  To opt out of receiving unsolicited commercial email from DMA members, visit www.dmachoice.org.   Registration is free and good for six years.

The Watauga County Recycling Office encourages all residents to take steps to reduce the amount of unsolicited mail to help conserves our natural resources — JUST SAY NO!  For more information, contact Lisa Dotyat lisa.doty@watgov.org or call 828-265-4852/828-264-5305.