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Sailing Junk…

Having just come back from a holiday in Turkey it was disheartening to find that I could not open the front door of my house ..why?… there was a pile of junk mail and other “useful” offers that just beggared belief ! So when that thoroughly good chap Jeffrey Siegel emailed from Active Captain to describe the very same problem that he has in the USA, it was very interesting to read about Jeffrey’s solution.

Catalog_ChoiceI am simply reprinting his comments here…” The first time we left our land-based home for an extended cruise, we weren’t sure how to handle the mail. Fortunately, we have a wonderful caretaker who watches our house and who gathered the First Class mail to send to us every month or so. Everything else was left for our return 6 months later. We were stunned by the mass of catalogs, credit card applications, and other solicitations that awaited us. Overwhelmed by the thought of calling hundreds of companies to get off of mailing lists, Karen searched the internet for help and found Catalog Choice on the web which was just starting up their service. Their mission was to provide a quick and simple way to manage the catalogs that flow through your postal mailboxes. Years have passed and our time onboard has grown to 9 months while the mass of junk mail that awaits us has shrunk to a manageable pile. In the meantime Catalog Choice has expanded to include phone books, fliers, and all manner of unsolicited mail. …..”


What a great idea ! Its a pity it only applies to the USA but that is a great start. Catalog Choice appears to have been in operation since 2008. They are a non profit corporation based in Berkeley, California. They now have over one million members and hundreds of participating companies.

Here in the UK things are not so good. But I would like to highlight one lone campaigner that deserves huge credit for his work. Check out the site Stop Junk Mail.

Junk_BusterStop Junk Mail is a free one-point-stop for contacting opt-out schemes it is also a one-man campaign.

  • Using the site you can :
    1. Get opt-out forms for the three main opt-out services for junk mail
  • 2. Cancel the Yellow Pages, Thomson Local directory and/or BT phone book

Of course in the UK you can also use the law if you want to contact each and every sender that plagues you. The Data Protection Act 1998 gives you the right to ask any UK organisation to stop ‘processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes’. This makes contacting individual junk mailers a very effective way of stopping junk mail. A data protection notice is a request to stop using your personal details for ‘direct marketing purposes’, made with reference to section 11 of the Data Protection Act. It’s a legally binding demand to stop (or not begin) sending you junk mail. Organisations that ignore a data protection notice can be referred to the Information Commissioner’s Office (the body enforcing the Data Protection Act)

But I am sure you would agree that life is too short for this approach….

My advice is to search out and support organisations like Catalog Choice and Stop Junk Mail – if there aren’t any in your country perhaps you could start one! I am pretty sure that whoever the poor soul is that agrees to look after your mail while you are away will thank you for doing your best to stop all this other type of “sailing junk”… Smile