On a daily basis, the University of Pennsylvania receives significant amounts of unsolicited mail.  Penn Mail Services estimates that as much as 40% of Penn's incoming mail consists of bulk-rate advertising mail. It is difficult for Mail Services to determine whether or not this unsolicited mail is useful information to the recipient or whether it is considered "junk mail." Therefore, the mail is delivered to Penn departments and the recipient is able to determine what they consider to be "junk mail" and discard it accordingly. This unsolicited mail is wasteful and creates an administrative problem .  Simply put, the handling of this unwanted "junk mail" creates extra work and expense for students, faculty, and staff and for Mail Services.

Penn’s Actions to Address Junk Mail

Penn Mail Services supports Penn’s Climate and Sustainability Plan and the University's Sustainability Office by streamlining the procedure for delivery of unsolicited mail, or junk mail, it receives. This “junk mail” is unsolicited standard mail that is addressed to “Occupant” or “Resident.” Once received from the United States Postal Service (USPS), the “junk mail” is removed from the delivery process and recycled.

This program has been quite successful as it significantly decreases the amount of “junk mail” being delivered to University departments

Steps You Can Take to Reduce Junk Mail

Although Penn Mail Services has increased its recycling of “junk mail” there are actions that faculty, students and staff can take to as well to prevent the delivery of unwanted mail, both at work and at home. Here are some actions you can take.

  • Sign up for Catalog Choice.  Catalog Choice is a free service that allows users to reduce the number of repeat and unwanted catalog mailings.  Users set their mail preferences for catalogs and Catalog Choice contacts them on your behalf, requesting that their preferences be honored.  Click here to register for this service.
  • Sign up for DMAchoice.  DMAchoice is a free, on-line service offered by the Direct Marketing Association to help you manage your mail.  Users can request to start or stop receiving credit offers, catalogs, magazine offers and other mail offers.  Click here to register for this service.
  • Take other steps such as those recommended by Global Stewards.  Click here to access their web site.