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cutting down on junk mail to your business

Despite all the talk about going green, many businesses overlook one of the most cost-effective steps: reducing the piles of junk mail that land every day in their mailbox.

Some services now promise to help businesses cut down on junk mail by contacting the major culprits, such as direct marketers and catalog retailers, and getting businesses or individuals removed from their mailing lists. In some cases, businesses can also take a few easy steps themselves to lighten their mail load.

Here are some resources to help:

Ecological Mail Coalition — You type the names of former employees into a Web site and it contacts direct marketers to get those employees’ names taken off marketers’ lists. It’s free. Marketers don’t want to spend money needlessly sending out mailings that will be thrown out.

GreenDimes –- Though geared to reducing residential junk mail, it can also help people who run businesses from their home. Sign in to the site and select catalogs and other direct mailings you no longer want to receive from a list of about 4,500 companies. It then gives do-it-yourself instructions on getting removed from those marketers lists, such as going to a specific Web site or mailing in a letter. You can then monitor the status of those requests online. Basic service is free. A premium service that makes the process less time-consuming starts at a one-time $20 (and the company plants five trees on your behalf).

DMAChoice.org –- The Direct Marketing Association allows individuals to opt out of marketing mail from marketers they don’t want to hear from. It’s free. Click on “Remove My Name From Those Lists” on the homepage.

OptOutPreScreen.com — Individual business owners (or employees) can curtail credit-card offers by notifying all three major credit bureaus at once at this site, or by calling 1-888-567-8688. It’s free.

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