Austin Realizes Not Everyone Loves Junk Mail, Gives People Way To Opt Out

Contrary to the opinion of Nevada Senator Harry Reid, not everyone view junk mail as an indispensable conduit between elderly Americans and the outside world. In fact, most of us would rather do without it. That’s why officials in Austin took time off from rehearsing with their ska/bluegrass fusion trios to become the latest city to give residents a way to opt out of receiving unwanted mail.

Yesterday, Austin Resource Recovery announced a partnership with Catalog Choice, a free service that puts your name on do-not-deliver lists for junk mail and phone books.

First, you register at after which you enter the info for the businesses that have been clogging up your mailbox.

Within 90 days of putting a company on that list, you should stop receiving unwanted mail from it.

This effort isn’t just about making life less annoying for you; it’s also a way for the city to cut back on all the junk mail it recycles.

“The first step to recycling is to reduce what we have,” said Bob Gerdert, Austin Resource Recovery director. “It will also reduce the cost the city pays to recycle this waste.”

Gerdert tells KXAN-TV that the money saved by this initiative could someday result in cost savings to Austin residents: “When it comes time to look at possible increases for solid waste services we may not have to increase it for residents because we have this cost savings.”

Austin is the latest town to partner with Catalog Choice, a company we first wrote about back in 2007. Among the other communities using the program are San Jose, CA.; Cambridge, MA.; Santa Fe, NM; Chicago; Seattle; and Berkeley.

Austin offers ‘junk mail’ opt out:

Austin offers ‘junk mail’ opt out [KXAN]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Hartwig says:

    Good for them, i wish every city would do this, as well as making junk mail and phone books opt in.

    • dognose says:

      Why do cities have to sign up for this? Shouldn’t it just be nationwide. Why don’t the junk mailers follow the existing Do Not Mail list?

  2. Snoofin says:

    I dont like nor hate junk mail. I just throw it away. Its really an easy thing to do and much cheaper than spending millions of taxpayers dollars researching and preparing this law that companies likely wont follow anyway, plus Austin law is NOT legally binding to companies from other cities/states/countries so youll still get crap anyway

    • Bodger says:

      Ahhh. What ‘Austin law’ is it you are referring to? There is no ‘Austin law’ that evil outside companies can safely flout. There is only which has partnered with the city to offer residents an easy way to opt out. Some companies which are in the business of sending out mail which will be trashed immediately are bright enough to realize that they can save/make money by avoiding the whole develop/print/mail catalog cycle and they are willing to accept an opt-out. Anybody can go to and at least attempt to get themselves off the mailings lists — sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t and even if Austin is involved I’d assume that this part will remain true.

    • Naked-Gord-Program says:

      This has been put in by the democratically elected reps of Austin. Why do you hate democracy?

      If you love your in city junk mail so much I’d suggest you not move to Austin.

      • Conformist138 says:

        Not even that- someone in Austin is still free to receive all the junk they want since it’s “opt-out” not “opt-in”.

        • Conformist138 says:

          Actually, opt-in or opt-out, Austin residents may still get all their junk mail if they wish.

      • AustinTXProgrammer says:

        The democratic process here doesn’t work very well. I live in the suburbs, so I have no say. All of the Austin city council positions are at large. Only about 8% of the city turns out for elections and incumbents run wild. There are a few well off neighborhoods in central Austin that control the process.

    • jiubreyn says:

      When this was discussed on the local news, they stated this is actually expected to reduce costs rather than raise them. In addition, this site doesn’t have all of the companies listed, just those that are willing to participate and since it’s been established, the number [of companies] has increased.

  3. gman863 says:

    I hope this also applies to the junk mail sent by the local newspaper(s).

    In Houston, The Chronicle sends two shitload packages of it a week (regardless of if you’re a Chronicle subscriber or not).

    Tuesdays it’s ads Food Town, Fiesta and Dish Network. Wednesdays brings us Randall’s, Kroger, H-E-B, Central Market, Palais Royal and many other ads I can either pick up if I shop there or check online if I’m interested.

    • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

      That’s what bugs me as well… all the friggin circulars. I’m in Houston too (go figure) and I get tons of them for stores I don’t even shop at. My apartment mailbox is really small and I actually lose my real mail sometimes because it’s crammed/stuffed in between tons of useless circulars. I have to go through it very carefully so that I don’t throw anything important away.

      • Preyfar says:

        I’ve got a small place in Reston, VA and I get 2 or 3 letters from Comcast a week (every single week) asking me to come over to the Xfinity side of cable. I often wonder how much money they waste doing that.

        Even worse? Verizon FIOS. I get a letter every week or two asking me to sign up to Verison FIOS. Problem? I already /HAVE/ FIOS, yet the still mail me.

    • kursk says:

      The Chronicle is pretty bad and it does not help to call them.
      In old my neighborhood, we also get near weekly drops also by Scientologists and Larouchians. I was happy when I moved into an apartment. Now we just get bombarded by food ads on Wednesday.

  4. UhMerican says:

    This would be great except when I started using Catalog Choice, I found I would get MORE junk mail from the companies I signed up to stop getting junk mail from. I was a slow learner. After a year I stopped using it and after another year I was back down to my usual amount of junk.

  5. Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

    Goddamn I love my hometown.

  6. scoosdad says:

    Thursday morning is recycle bin pickup day here.

    Wednesday is the day the post office delivers its weekly motherlode of junk mail including the local paper’s shopper/advertiser section. How convenient.

    I bring the recycle bin to the curb Thursday morning, step over to my mailbox containing Wednesday’s mail delivery, and drop most of it directly into the recycle bin unopened and unread. Take that, bulk mailers!

  7. Odin Zifer says:

    Or just double the bulk mail rate.

  8. hotpocketdeath says:

    I don’t like junk mail as much as the next guy, but honestly, junkmail is needed to to help support the USPS. They aren’t exactly rolling in cash right now.

    So in my opinion, getting rid of junkmail may cause unintended problems.

    • Conformist138 says:

      Abolishing slavery made the price of cotton go up. (I know, intentionally outrageous and shocking statement to prove a point) Sometimes a good change will bring negative consequences but still be a good change. It just increases the value of being able to innovate once a negative crutch is removed. USPS is flailing because they’re not an official government agency but are prevented from competing like they are. It needs to be one or the other- either fund it like any other government agency, or let it be more competitive in the market. As it is, USPS has the worst of both worlds and is doomed to fail without some kind of change- junk mail can’t and won’t save it.

      • hotpocketdeath says:

        The USPS is failing because of regulations put in place by the Bush administration, not because they don’t get government funding or prevented from competing.

        There is a lot of money going into the USPS because of Junk Mail. I feel you are greatly underestimating just how much it is.

        • RickN says:

          The last couple of years the pension funding accounted for around half of the 10 billion dollar shortfall. The USPS is in bad shape with or without of the pension issue.

          That Bush is the cause of the USPS money problems is an oft-repeated and incorrect bugaboo. But “Bush did it!” has been a popular mantra.

    • dognose says:

      By all means, kill as many trees as possible to save jobs.

      • hotpocketdeath says:

        Excellent point. Absolutely no junk mail could possibly be printed recycled paper. Imagine the horror of that.

  9. elizath says:

    Her hands were pressed to his ear as he rolled on the floor >Clarks Desert develops the most favored holiday hip-hop made the purchase styleS Each time you land, Oferta Belstaff blind in the dark shoes Gucci Uomo blow, he shouted at the top of his voice, to stop playing to achieve their ears It was time to sell everything.

  10. palace_gypsy says:

    I just forward all my junk mail to Harry Reid.

  11. dognose says:

    I have been trying for YEARS to stop unwanted junk mail. Some companies will not listen to anything. The Do Not Mail list should be legislated.

    • dg says:

      It has been – back in the 70’s… Find form 1500 on the USPS Website. Declare the item(s) to be a pandering or erotic advertisement, send the form in to the Pricing and Classification Service Center. They send you a Prohibitory Order that they must enforce… Volia! No more mail from the mailers!

      You have complete, unreviewable, and unfettered discretion as to what is or is not a pandering or erotic advertisement – pursuant to US Sup. Ct. case law

  12. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    So when is Catalog Choice going to come to my town? East Bumblef%ck, Middle of Nowhere?

  13. jeblis says:

    The website isn’t very good and you have to opt out company by company. Also it won’t do any good for the bulk unaddressed coupon/newsprint flyers that are really annoying.

  14. Bstagger says:

    To be honest, I can see the exact same people who might opt to use this service, complaining somewhere down the line when they don’t receive some piece or form of mail or the other that they might have actually wanted afterall! Let’s be honest. People will always find reasons to complain, no matter what measures are implemented.

  15. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Is there a way to get your mail forwarded when you move but avoid the junk mail being forwarded as well?

  16. daemonaquila says:

    Go Austin. Can the rest of the country please follow suit? It’s not about the fact that it’s easy to throw away junk mail – it’s that we don’t want it in the first place, and we’re sick of companies killing forests that will just wind up in the garbage. We are overmarketed to the hilt.