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Photo credit: Night-Thing/Flickr

How much of the junk mail that you get every day goes straight into the trash (or hopefully at least the recycling bin!)? If you’re like most of us, probably close to half of it, or around 20 pounds annually. You didn’t ask for it. You don’t want it. And yet it keeps showing up in your mailbox six days a week, all year long–an endless avalanche of catalogues and credit card offers.

The vast amount of resources that go into producing and distributing junk mail. Paper mail costs Americans money, time, and space, not to mention it destroys our nation’s natural resources. According to NRDC Smarter Living’s new guide on going paperless, 50 million trees are cut down annually releasing 50 million tons of heat-trapping pollutants into the atmosphere. Just making their rounds, Post Office trucks consume 444 million gallons of fuel annually, producing about 4.3 million tons of heat-trapping pollutants.

And if that weren’t bad enough, you can lose important bills in all the piles of paper.

You can, however, shovel yourself out from under the paper mountain. The Smarter Living guide, though, has found great ways to reduce unwanted mail, including new services that simplify the process and make it easier to handle your bills.

A few of the best options include:

  • the easiest site for paying bills online and managing all your accounts in one place–from online catalogs to frequent flyer points.
  • a free online service that helps reduce the weekly flow of junk mail by removing your address from unwanted mailing lists.

Remember, the consumer always ends up paying the costs of advertising, so stop paying for instant trash.