If your mailbox is clogged with junk mail that goes straight into your recycle bin, you need PaperKarma. Perhaps you enjoyed receiving catalogs such as Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware and Home Decorator’s Collection when you were furnishing your new home but now you don’t need any more furniture. Or perhaps you eagerly flipped through baby catalogs such as Right Start and One Step Ahead in between diaper changes, but by now your youngest has braces on her teeth.
When I was young, single and living in Manhattan, before the days of online shopping, catalogs were a fantastic way to shop. My roommate, the editor of a fashion magazine, and I would spend hours going through catalogs finding fun and outrageous outfits. If I weren’t around, she would mark the catalogs with notes for me (NWJ = No Way Jose, TWLSGOY = This Would Look So Good On You), supremely adding style to my previously boring wardrobe. Catalogs then were fun and relevant.
Now with online shopping you may not want to receive any catalogs at all. Or perhaps you only want a few favorites. Chances are that you’re getting more catalogs than you want, as well as other junk mail. You can use PaperKarma to get you off of mailing lists for catalogs, as well as magazines, coupons, fliers, mailers, credit card offers and white/yellow page phone books. You get less clutter in your home, retailers aren’t sending out unwanted mail and the deforestation of the planet is delayed.
Sure, you could get off these mailing list by writing a letter, calling or sending an email, but PaperKarma makes it super easy for you. The first time you use the app you must register, which you can do by logging in with Facebook or creating an account. Open the app and take a picture of the offending mail. The key is to make sure the photo includes information about the sender. After you take the picture you are shown a Preview and are given the choice of using or retaking the photo. When you press Use, you are asked to confirm that you want to unsubscribe. Press “Send & Stop” and PaperKarma will do the rest.
The screen that pops up will congratulate you on your efforts to eliminate paper waste and asks you to help spread the word. You can either share your good works with your friends on Facebook or press “No thanks”.
When you are unsubscribed, usually within 24 hours, PaperKarma will notify you with a message that your request was successful. If your photo didn’t work (shadows, glare, missing information, etc.), you will get a notice that your request failed.
You can check the status of your unsubscriptions at any time by pressing View All on the Take Photo screen.
This app came out in late January and I’ve been testing it since then. I’m happy to report that so far the app seems to be working well. PaperKarma doesn’t promise to get rid of all junk mail. There are some companies that won’t comply with unsubscribe requests and others that send junk mail to all addresses in a postal code. But PaperKarma can be successful at deleting you from mailing lists at compliant companies. Here’s a link to their blog post showing letters they have received from companies that have processed unsubscribe requests: PaperKarma blog.
If you have a smartphone and want to eliminate junk mail while helping to save the planet, give PaperKarma a try.
Do you have junk mail you would like to purge from your mailbox? Does the idea of an easy, free way to get off of mailing lists appeal to you? Do you shop with catalogs anymore or do you shop online instead? Let us know in the Comments section below!