Introduction: Fight Back: Return Unwanted Junk Mail

Picture of Fight Back: Return Unwanted Junk Mail

Every day that we check our mailboxes, we have to pick out all kinds of junk mail so that we can get to our real mail.

Did you ever tear a bill in half because it was stuck to some kind of free offer?

Are you tired of the complete waste of paper and resources that junk offers produce?

Can you not get a loan to save your life, but you're pre-approved for some double-uranium card with half a million dollars in credit?

It's such a bother and I can't stand it, so here's what I do to calm my nerves and get a little revenge.

Step 1: Pick Out the Junk

Picture of Pick Out the Junk

Pick out all the junk from your mail and open all the envelopes up.

What you're looking for is those "Business Reply Mail" envelopes with the paid return postage. Put these envelopes to the side.

Se that little "Postage will be paid by addressee" part? That's what you're looking for.

Step 2: The Fun Begins

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Now, the businesses that send you the unwanted junk have to pay to get those envelopes back. It doesn't cost them anything if we just throw them out. What they want is for you to fill out whatever forms so you can receive whatever it is they have to offer.

But, you don't have to mail the offers back. You can send them whatever you want, and once it arrives, they have to pay for it!

Today I sent out a load of sticky candy bar wrappers. I hope they like it!

Step 3: Mail It Off!

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Send their envelope back with whatever goodies you decide to enclose and wait for the next batch of junk mail to come!

Step 4: Don't Be Stupid.

Picture of Don't Be Stupid.

Don't be stupid.

It's fun to send them back candy wrappers or a booger stuck to an index card, but don't do anything that can get you in trouble or hurt someone else.

So, as a precaution, I'd advise you all to stay away from anything powdery, anything sharp and anything that can get people sick. It's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt.

Step 5: Summary

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Junk mail is a waste of time and a waste of resources. And it's fun to have a little joke at their expense. Maybe if enough people do it, they will get the point.


purecajn (author)2017-10-19

Are you kidding me, lol, this is lightweight. you want to hit'em hard. Glue the envelope to a cinder block or a brick to add weight. they still have to mail the Item. Make it a surprise by wrapping same and then sticking the envelope to the outside of the package. make sure to write this side up and handle with care on it tho'

MPaulHolmes (author)2015-02-10

Oh my gosh, I couldn't sleep until like 2am, and it kept my wife up because I was laughing so hard about the booger suggestion.

MPaulHolmes (author)2015-02-10

Oh my gosh, I couldn't sleep until like 2am, and it kept my wife up because I was laughing so hard about the booger suggestion.

leif.hietala (author)2015-01-12

This is another example of why I think the Instructable's community needs a tougher moderator. "Revenge" suggestions are deleterious to society in general. You're taking your bad mood out on someone at the other end, some faceless individual who has absolutely nothing to do with the origination of the junk mail, but is nevertheless condemned to handle your booger card - a booger card that would not exist except YOU decided to send it. And regardless of whether you send a booger or just the card taped to a brick, it is actions like these that drive up the costs, however incrementally, for the rest of us that partake of the services or products the junk mail's originators offer.

Before anyone shouts me down, please note that I am being both nice - or at least cordial - and constructive. Constructive, in that I am recommending that no one else be as small-minded and inconsiderate as to follow these suggestions.

CalvinH1 (author)2014-12-15

Putting a booger in is funny but illegal. You are passing body fluids which can carry diseases .

simes303 (author)2013-09-20

What I do is put something heavy into a jiffy bag, like a brick or rock, and stick the prepaid envelope on the outside. That way they have to pay much more postage as it's really heavy.

spawncory (author)2012-09-16

Add plenty of otherjunk mail and make it really heavy beause they will have to pay for an oversize letter too!

ilpug (author)2011-11-12

One time I printed a bunch of official looking bills, each asking several hundred dollars for "wasting my valuable time", and sent them back in the free-postage envelopes.

0Ihavenousername0 (author)2010-10-24

I love this idea. My apartment building has a little basket next to the mailboxes for junk mail, and it's always overflowing with papers.

Now I can have some fun, waste spare time, and get rid of the extra trash on my desk all at once. I hope they enjoy it as much as I did.

greggoryssmith (author)2009-10-01

wonder if they would ship a river rock back to them.......hmmmmm

earthlovr (author)greggoryssmith2010-02-19

in sum, you can attach one of those BREs (business reply envelopes) to a box of just about anything and they have to pay for it. but take iPodGuy's advice, don't be stupid. this is the United States of Paranoia and Lawsuits we're talking about - don't get yourself in trouble.

ve2vfd (author)2008-12-18

A few years ago, I saw on the news a guy from Vermont who was heating his house with junk mail! He collected all the junk mail he could, and added his name to every junk mailing list possible by filling out those "readers information cards" in magazines. He also collected his neigbours junk mail. He used all the junk paper, rolled it into logs and burned them in his woodstove... kept his house warm all winter.

duncanmckean (author)ve2vfd2010-02-14


OwinchO (author)ve2vfd2009-01-31


A good name (author)ve2vfd2009-01-16

Epic win.

8bit (author)ve2vfd2008-12-18

That = rocks.

iPodGuy (author)ve2vfd2008-12-18

That is awesome.

smattman22 (author)2010-01-09

Its called RECYCLING.
but that does sound fun :)

knoxarama (author)2009-12-03

This is great! I'm gonna start saving these things up right now! Screw you comcast, you'll get yours!

Slayton101 (author)2009-08-27

Please note that this method is usually a complete waste of your time. Companies generally pay outside services to open and process their reply mail. They will never actually see your handiwork as the people they employ will simply throw it away. High-Volume Qualified Business Reply Mail is only 36.6¢ (See link below for verification), however, the costs may add up eventually. Companies don't pay extra for a brick compared to a blender. At a point, of something like, half a pound for some companies, the post office is unable to charge anything more for that package. You all waste more time filling up this junk and trying to be funny about it. On top of that, have you ever thought about some of the companies that do this aren't bad? Have you ever even looked at your mail offers? Do the right thing, the easiest thing, and the best thing; Call them up, or return the business reply mail and just say "Please take me off your mailing list"

Rotten194 (author)2009-07-07
Kaelessin (author)2008-12-20

My dad used to tape those to bricks when he was just out of college and send em back . . . .it doesn't stop the junkmail but it sure was a laugh!

finfan7 (author)Kaelessin2008-12-24

How big/heavy are we talking here as a limit? Could one, say, tape the thing to the top of a, oh, I don't know, large boulder? Or perhaps an old junk car? Or a tree? or even a nice six foot cube of (as if you could obtain such a thing) Ununoctium?

Kaelessin (author)finfan72008-12-24

I dunno . . . .I would assume that the usps limits the size/weight of an item that you want to ship . . .an old junker car would be quite amusing though!

finfan7 (author)Kaelessin2008-12-24

I went into and put in the curb weight of a tercel and it said that the limit is 70 lbs. There may be other ways with higher limits but that is the upper bound for "large packages." Now, what can I find that is 12"x12"x12" and weighs 70 lbs, eh?

Derin (author)finfan72009-06-10

Try lead.

EcoMotive (author)2009-05-12

HaHaHa this is hilarious! I'm going to check my mail right now!

SYMMETRY (author)2009-04-30

I'm so doing this from now on

CrunchyMamaSky (author)2009-02-04

love it

Trid (author)2009-01-05

This is pretty cool. Although, i could have sworn that a couple years back a guy did this and was fined, because he was abusing the junk mail service or something.

finfan7 (author)2008-12-24

It would be great to fill them with lead shot. The balls are small but they add up to a lot and when it gets to the junk company and, if they are stupid enough, they open it the balls go everywhere.

tdubbs86 (author)2008-12-23

Good idea. There are websites with a similar idea to the do not call registry and the service mentioned in another comment. They don't get it all but they try.

This video tells some of the negative facts of junkmail (i.e. we waste 70 hours of life opening junkmail)

rc jedi (author)2008-12-20

ha ha! great idea! I gotta do it! thanks

JohnnyNeurotic (author)2008-12-19

Mail them rocks, because of the weight it'll probably cost them slightly more.

AndyGadget (author)2008-12-18

Does the U.S. have any equivalent of the Mailing Preference Service ? In the U.K. registering with them will stop 99.9 percent of junk mail. (It's not as much fun, though ;¬)

Transquesta (author)AndyGadget2008-12-18

You're kidding, right? Um, that'd be a big no. There's no such 'service' like that in the States--eh, unless you wanna count the otherwise noble efforts of your friendly neighborhood trash man. :-) FWIW, I tried this very re-mailing method several years ago. Kept it up for a pretty good while, too. When it made no difference whatsoever in the amount of 'bulk' which ended up in my mailbox, I started pulping it and turning it into "firebricks." The only other way to get rid of it is to move, and to be VERY selective about who gets your new address. Personal information is a form of property--a very valuable form at that. One should treat it as such. DON'T give out your address (or any other personal info, for that matter), unless a retailer, government agency, etc. "absolutely" needs it to conduct business or to comply with the law. Even then, investing in a post office box for some forms of mail wouldn't be a bad idea, either.

Chef Chad McIntyre (author)2008-12-18

You could use it to make Paper-crete. Just think of all the tons of that junk that could be put to something useful.

About This Instructable




Bio: Just your average handyman.
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