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CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Most people don’t give much thought to their junk mail. Some trash it, some recycle it, but Gretchen Carman-Palmer decided to start collecting it.
“There’s no day that goes by that I don’t have three or four of these come,” she told Contact7, as she showed off the stacks of catalogs she’s compiled in the past year. By her estimate, she’s received around 1,200 catalogs, weighing over 400 pounds.
Carman-Palmer admits she’s ordered from catalogs in the past, which is no doubt how she ended up on multiple direct marketing mailing lists. She grew more concerned when her postman told her he’d have to stop delivering her First-Class mail because her mailbox was overcrowded with Second-Class mail.
“We pay the post office to deliver these and they have to deliver them whether you want them to or not,” she said.
The United States Postal Service confirmed to Contact7 that any mail marked “or current resident” must be left at the address. Carman-Palmer said she has also tried calling some direct marketing companies, but she continues to receive catalogs.
A conservationist, Carman-Palmer is also concerned about the 400 pounds of paper in her home ending up in a landfill. Studies show around half of junk mail in the United States is thrown in the trash, not recycled. If you combine all the junk mail Americans receive in a year, it amounts to 100 million trees.
“Anybody could do this," Carman-Palmer said. "I did this so maybe I can get a recycling company out."
Carman-Palmer hopes her display of junk mail will motivate other people to recycle more. As for reducing the incoming mail, the Direct Marketing Association has an opt out feature where consumers can register their address. There are also links to remove deceased individuals from mailing lists, or for caregivers to remove a dependent from mailing lists.