How to stop junk mail

Research in 2010 indicated that approximately 17.5 billion pieces of junk mail are produced every year in the UK. That translates to 550,000 tonnes of paper and 16.5 billion litres of water. If more of us opt out of receiving junk mail, we could reduce this number by a significant amount.

As part of the free IPS membership, our team register members with the Mailing Preference Service (MPS) to help reduce your junk mail. In this guide, IPS breaks down more ways you can help reduce and stop your junk mail.

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Put a ‘no junk mail’ sign on your door

You can make a sign yourself, write “No commercial leaflets”. You can also write “No free newspapers” or “Yes free newspapers” depending on whether you still want to get free newspapers. It isn’t a good idea to rely on signs alone as some delivery people might ignore them.

Contact the sender directly

If you want to stop getting mail from a particular sender, contact them directly. Include this sentence: “Please stop processing my personal data for direct marketing purposes in accordance with Article 21 of the GDPR within one month of the date above”.

Return to sender

If you get junk mail with a return address on the envelope, you should write “Unsolicited mail, return to sender” on the envelope and then post it. You will not have to pay, but they will.

Register with the free tools and services we have highlighted below



Mailing Preference Service

UK consumers generate millions of pounds of postal sales per year, the majority welcome the information and special offers by post. However, some people might take a different view. The MPS is here to make your choice known, so you get the mail you want and need. By joining the IPS community, we will automatically sign you up to the Mailing Preference Service.

Royal Mail Opt Out Scheme

To reduce your junk mail which in turn helps reduce paper usage, you can register with Royal Mail’s Door to Door Opt out service. To do this, please complete this Form and mail it to “Free-post Royal Mail Customer Services”.

Your Choice Preference Scheme for Unaddressed Mail

To further reduce your junk mail which in turn will help reduce paper usage, you can register with the DMA’s Your Choice Preference Scheme which stops unaddressed mail to your house.

Fundraising Preference Scheme

Allows people to control the nature and frequency of direct marketing and communications that they receive from fundraising organisations registered in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Take your details off the Open Register

You can search for your local electoral registration office on GOV.UK. Ask them to take your details off the ‘open register’. This is a list of people and addresses that can be bought and used for sending junk mail. Tick the box that says “opt-out” of the open register whenever you are asked to register.

The Bereavement Register

Receiving mail from a loved one who has passed away can be a painful reminder. The Bereavement Register is a free service that will see the names and addresses of the deceased removed from the mailing lists. The Service will stop most advertising mail within six weeks.


Make a complaint

Make a complaint to the Mailing Preference Service

Make a complaint to the Fundraising Regulator

Information Commissioners Office

If you continue receiving junk mail from an organisation you contacted more than four months ago, you should consider complaining to the Information Commissioners Office. This is the body that enforces the data protection act.

Have your say

As an IPS member, you can leave us your thoughts, comments and experiences in the commments section below

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