In the last few months several neighbors have lamented online about the irritating unwanted mail problem, particularly about Red Plum mailers (newspaper coupon bundle delivered weekly in a pink plastic bag). You may have seen them laying around town, soaked in rain or frozen stiff in yards and sidewalks. They are not only an eyesore but a liability problem as they may signal to burglars that someone is traveling. Anyways, not pretty or safe. Of course some people like them. But for those of us who have no use for them and who would much rather not have paper wasted on our behalf on an item that provides no benefit, it is preferable to not receive them. We pay for waste and recycling services for things we use, not for things we do not use after all… I know, I know, I know… it is not a “huge” deal, right? Except when you add up everybody who would rather not have them. Perhaps it becomes a little of a deal when those of us who do not want them can save some trees, some room in the waste and recycling trucks, and a couple seconds at a time picking up and doing the disposal duty thing. My husband and I have lived in Forest Park over a couple decades, enough to have seen this same bundle change name three, maybe four times. And we got it to stop and it was not much effort considering the time we have saved since, which is surprisingly not insignificant. We have not received this particular bundle in maybe a decade except a couple times where it was a mistake and the address printed on it was in Broadview. And we called to report it and they came to pick it up! At any rate, the current people running the Red Plum bundle are called Retailmenot. To have it stopped one can go to this link or call 1.800.437.0479 and select option 3. Maybe the whole village could get this bundle arranged so it is only delivered to people who have signed up for it, especially since there are reports of two or three of this bundles being dropped at homes at once. But in the meantime please help pass on the word that unsubscribing works (note it can take a few weeks for the bundle to stop once unsubscribed, though). The other super easy way to reduce unwanted mail is to stop offers based on one’s credit history. This also decreases the risk of someone getting your data from printed material one did not want. Every credit card offer mailer has a teeny tiny message printed at the bottom on how to unsubscribe, which is required by law because of privacy issues. Works like a charm, and my husband and I have not received any more of those offers in twenty years. Also, signing up to Direct Mail preferences helps another bit: Asking the companies and businesses one patronizes to not send printed material if one does not even look at them, can help yet another little bit. Why not call those mailers that say “postal customer” also telling them it is just not exactly nice or pretty…? In the past we also had to pick up a lot of loose flyers from businesses in the area being dropped around our yard. It is not a bad idea to take them back, mail them back, or call and suggest more reasonable practices such as sponsoring local events, instead of advertising with trash, for example. Doing these may seem like small things, but more and more we are learning that a lot of people reducing a little waste results in a lot of waste reduction. We personally did not do all these things at once: remember we have been here for many years, and sometimes we were sick or stuck at home waiting for something with plenty time, and sometimes we just had a couple minutes to do one little thing. And each of the little things do help.

Julieta Aguilera


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