How to stop junk mail

How to stop royal mail junk mail
I’ve finally requested that Royal Mail stop sending us junk mail. Having read this, it seems like it would be better for the planet, the postmen/women and even the Royal Mail in the long term if they packed in the junk mail habit.

The official method to stop your junk mail is quite convoluted:

On their website, they ask you to email this address:, telling them your name and postal address. Then, in a few days, a letter and a form turn up in the mail. You have to sign the form and return it to them. And supposedly this stops all unaddressed mail (I’ll let you know if it works).

Here’s an easier way:

1. Download this form:
How to stop junk mail PDF form
2. Add your address.
3. Print it off, sign it, and post it to this address:

Royal Mail Door to Door Opt Outs
Kingsmead House
Oxpens Road

I suspect that Royal Mail aren’t cross-referencing every email with every form. One of their reasons behind such a complex process is to ensure that everyone in a property has guaranteed that they don’t want junk mail. Personally, I can’t imagine anyone getting annoyed that their junk mail has stopped. The other reason is that government documents may be sent to you using the unaddressed mail system. If the government can’t figure out a better way of telling me important information than “To the Occupier”, then I think I probably don’t need to know about it.


Filed under blackheath

13 responses to “How to stop junk mail

  1. Top tip thanks! I’ve tried the Mail Preference Service before and that semi works, but even then some things still slip through the net. We still receive mail for the previous occupants of our house, two years after they moved out. Very frustraiting!

  2. You say it would be better for the Royal Mail to ditch the junk mail – but that is quite a substantial chunk of their income.

    Ditching Royal Mail would likely result in a massive hike in postage prices, or the bankruptcy of the organisation.

    Actually, shutting down the Royal Mail and replacing it with something better might not be a bad idea after all.

    • Hi Ian – that article I linked to suggests that the opposite is true – royal mail are having to employ more people to carry heavier bags for longer journeys because of all the junk mail, which is shipped at cheaper rates than the normal franked/stamped post!

      • Rodders

        errr… no it doesn’t. In fact the writer makes exactly Ian’s point: “This junk mail is one of the Royal Mail’s most profitable sidelines…”. He also says that staffing is down by 30%, and so RM are not ’employing more people to carry heavier bags for longer’. FT employment is being sacrificed for PT, and the writer suggests, that the reduction in staff is placing more burden on the postmen and women who remain.

        The rates RM charges to distibute unaddressed mail is higher than most bulk franked mail. The writer makes the different point that he gets a flat fee which hasn’t increased over a decade. This is not the same as saying the Royal Mail makes less on it; quite the reverse!

        The Royal Mail makes a very significant amount of money from door drop, charged at very healthy margins against other routes to the letterbox (local free newspapers and dedicated teams of leaflet distributors, both employing staff at minimum wage). This is because it works – people look at the junk mail in their addressed mail; they don’t tend to spend as much time on stuff just popped onto the mat. It’s also because the Mail gets to every house (except yours) whereas local papers are rapidly disappearing.

        Clearly the disaffected postie has a point about his working practices. It’s also useful for you to make the distinction between Mail Preference Scheme and door to door opt out, as the former only excludes certain types of door drop activity.

        But please, do not pretend you being fed up with leaflets is some kind of ethical mission. A tiny fraction of junk mail items are not recyclable (generally samples), and Lewisham’s policy on recycling makes it very easy to do. Meanwhile a complex and employment-heavy industry sits behind junk mail. People plan the activity, design the mail, evaluate and analyse it, buy the distribution, plan the distribution, ship it, print it, warehouse it and, of course, deliver it. It’s expensive to do so it’s usually well targeted.

        Opt out by all means; it’s not a moral position.

      • I think it is a moral position. You’re assuming that recycling junk mail is an acceptable use of energy. I’m suggesting that it doesn’t need to exist in the first place. There are plenty of other ways to communicate without paper. Our postal system functioned before junk mail existed. It just seems like a waste of everyone’s time.

      • I’m afraid, whether you like it or not, junk mail works or companies would not do it. The evaluation process on this, though far from perfect as Jim points out, is very rigorous.

        Isn’t the crux of what Roy Mayall wants really just a decent hourly rate for delivering this stuff?

        I really don’t care about this issue (I’m just contrary) but my point is simply that to portray this as some righteous act misses the mark.

        Oh, and you may be gobsmacked to hear that 30% of the population don’t have email.

      • statingtheobvious

        Lots of things “work”, and may be very profitable for the entities involved, but are subject to restrictions or even prohibited because of the detriment to society as a whole.
        If we are being discouraged from using our cars and supermarkets are being disccouraged from excessive packaging (and the list could go on), it seems reasonable that junk mail should also be discouraged.
        I’m struggling to see how this position (or the Bugle’s posts for that matter) can be criticised as “ethical” or “moral” – or why being ethical or moral is a bad thing!

  3. “Meanwhile a complex and employment-heavy industry sits behind junk mail. People plan the activity, design the mail, evaluate and analyse it, buy the distribution, plan the distribution, ship it, print it, warehouse it and, of course, deliver it. It’s expensive to do so it’s usually well targeted.”

    Amazing to contemplate really. Yet I still get leaflets advertising conservatory extensions. I’m in a council block. On the top floor.

  4. R. G. Land

    Here in Holland we use a self adhesive sticker/label , it is about 12 cms long and 2 cms wide, you attach it to the flap on your letterbox,
    there are two versions :

    NO unaddressed advertising folders NO
    or leaflets
    and no free local newspapers

    the second one is :

    NO YES
    unaddressed advertising free local
    folders or leaflets newspapers

    The first label has a black backround, the NO and NO are in orange , the rest of the text is white.

    The second label has the same colour scheme, with the exception of the YES , which is green

    I do have a photo of these two labels, but I can’t
    get it into this email, for some technical reason.


    Bob Land

  5. I filled out the form and guess what – absolutely no difference (perhaps this is as consequence of living in block of flats where postie is bundling leaflets for others).

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