Introduction: How to Stop Junk Mailers!

Picture of How to Stop Junk Mailers!

You know those obnoxious "refinance your home" or credit card scams offers that you get in the mail? This is called direct marketing, where marketers use a reduced bulk postal rate to send entire forests of paper mail to you.

So this is something you can do in response.

Find a shoebox, or a storage bin, or any cardboard box you have laying around. Fill it up with bricks, big blocks of iron, or maybe cement. Tape the box up with everyday packaging tape. Use a junkmail's postage-paid envelope and tape it neatly to the top cover of the box. NEATLY. And mail it off. Envelope revenge!

A few days later, your package shows up at the junk mailer's location, and they have to pay for every cent of delivery. Once the cost outweighs the benefit, they will stop sending out direct mail marketing material. And that is my goal.

Doing this has the following beneficial side effects:

-Since these companies pay the post office, this lightens the load taxpayers need to pay to keep the post office operating

-This creates employment opportunities. The post office keeps cutting staff because of lack of business; this gives the post office a huge source of income from the credit card scam companies.

-This will lead to more cautious bulk mailing. Maybe these junk mailers simply don't know they are annoying people? Hopefully they will learn very quickly!

-This makes me laugh maniacally, like a cartoon supervillan.

-This saves trees. Once enough of us do this, the junk mail companies will stop sending us junk. Or at least they will be more discriminate about it. It will save trees and keep the landfills empty! Yay!

-If we do this enough, the USPS will make so much money, that they will lower postage costs.

Credit for this goes to'''


Alright, so the idea of sending a box full of bricks doesnt exactly pan out, because the Post Office can trash it, even if you put your address in the return section (which I was sad to find out).

So... what CAN you do about your junk mail?

There is only a few pro-active steps you can do, such as filling the junk mail envelopes with other junk mail and send it back, fill it with glitter or another irritating substance (like metal shavings), or just send it back empty. All of these will cause the companies who send out the junk mail to spend something to receive the envelopes, hoping that you bought something, but instead are rewarded with grass, or coupons to a crummy restaurant.

To do this, you should cross out the address and bar code, circle the first class postage and write "refused: return to sender". Drop in any mail box, it will be returned to the sender.

You can also return bulk mail by writing "address correction requested" on the label, then circle "address correction requested" and treat like normal.

Another tidbit that you might not know of (though not very pro-active), USPS form 1500USPS form 1500 which is basically a form to opt out of sexually explicit mail. if you write down automotive catalogs, the Post Office will not disagree with you that you feel that automotive catalogs are too sexually explicit for you.

Ont last thing... do not burn or compost junk mail. They are often colored and treated with chemicals that you dont want to burn. What you can do is make paper beads OR send it back to various companies using their very own business reply envelopes. The latter is the preferred method in my book.

Step 1: First

Picture of First

Get the "No Postage Necessary" envelope out of the junk mail.

Step 2: Second

Picture of Second

Put a brick (or anything) in a box. Don't send hazardous materials (i.e. batteries), or things considered unhealthy (i.e. dirty underwear).

Step 3: Third

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Tape the "No Postage Necessary" envelope neatly to the box, that way it doesn't fall off during transit.

Step 4: Fourth and Last

Picture of Fourth and Last

Put it into those blue mail boxes, the parcel dump at the post office, or in your mail box.


This is NOT illegal in any way, as long as you adhere to Step 2. Not only is this not illegal, it helps families and others. The United States postal Service employs nearly two million people. These numbers are going down drastically because of increased e-mail use. This junk mail program significantly increases USPS income generation, which allows the government to employ more people. I am pro-family, pro-jobs, and pro-America.

Do not worry about the little barcodes on the side, they hold no relevant information to yourself, they are there to tell the post office what type of postage they should have.


Junk mailers PAY about twenty cents an ounce. That means an eight pound package COSTS THEM about $25. And all of the proceeds go directly to the United States Postal Service.


LegoSurvivor (author)2017-12-15


dahee (author)2011-08-03

also don't forget to black out the bar code at the bottom. it charges the annoying spam company more money.

dahee (author)2011-08-03

Lol!! I work at a shoe store. We throw out so many shoe boxes. I am SOOO collecting them, to do this!
Everyone- please ask your local shoe store to have the old boxes. If you get rejected, don't be bothered just ask another shoe store.

dahee (author)2011-08-03

I just read your article in a silent library at college.
I blew up laughing and the rupture caused spit particles to fly all over my laptop screen. This is hilarious to the 3rd degree!

Broom (author)2011-03-21

Ya got me there... Only read the title!

Rotten194 (author)2009-07-07

What about mailing This?

Broom (author)Rotten1942011-03-16

Biological waste is a hazardous material, and you could be found guilty of a federal crime if the mail is addressed to a location outside your state.

Rotten194 (author)Broom2011-03-18

Way to only read the title.

dizzydave (author)2008-04-24

It's a lot more effective to just opt out of everything. It would take a huge campaign of crazies mailing boxes of bricks to actually have an effect on these companies. They're not going to stop sending things to you until you opt out, because I assume you're not putting your return address on your bricks...

sugarego (author)dizzydave2009-05-21

well, once you've done that, and you're still getting tons of junk mail, you might be inclined to go the crazy/revenge route. we even paid a company ( to deal with it for us, and they use far more opt-out avenues than the 3 you just listed. and we still get more junk mail than anything else.

Broom (author)sugarego2011-03-16

So... you got scammed by

sugarego (author)sugarego2009-05-21

i should note: we signed up with 41 pounds at least 9 months ago. so the problem for us is not that we haven't waited long enough. and i don't want to knock 41 pounds. they're awesome, and i truly believe they put all our names on the appropriate lists, but some companies are tenacious and others don't follow the rules. some stuff doesn't even get mailed to us; it just gets stuffed into every single mailbox on the block by the mailperson. EVERY DAY. coupons and advertisements like the things that fall out of newspapers, with no postage or address or anything of the sort on them. complaining to the mailperson is often useless. especially if your mailperson seems to always be a different person. :P

LDW (author)dizzydave2008-04-24

Exactly. Guerilla tactics may give you a nice warm feeling, but so does peeing your pants. They certainly don't achieve anything. Believe me - I worked in direct mail for years. If you don't want to be mailed, just say so.

laminterious (author)dizzydave2008-04-24

I promote crazy whenever and wherever I can! But thanks for the opt-out links as well!

dizzydave (author)laminterious2008-04-24

understood. fyi, i did the opt out thing a while back. it took a couple weeks to kick in, but now i haven't gotten a single piece of junk mail in over 3 years.

mikeasaurus (author)laminterious2008-04-24

haha "I promote crazy". Agreed +1

winniekate (author)2009-08-21

Recycle dead batteries. Tape 2 or 3 AAs to one of the letters, insert in envelope, save planet.

I think the post office might be a bit freaked out and call in the Bomb Squad when they see the outline of two or three cylindrical objects in an envelope.

Possibly. But, I save my dead batteries just for this purpose, and I've done it a number of times - haven't heard back yet!

Brennn10 (author)2008-04-24

You should really give credit to this site.

It isn't very cool to rip off someone else's work and not credit them.

laminterious (author)Brennn102008-04-24

Thanks! I have been sent about 5 or 6 emails with this info on them and none of them had where they got it. I shall credit the site!

Brennn10 (author)laminterious2008-04-24


laminterious (author)Brennn102008-04-24

Hey no problem, I dont want to rip anyone off. Thanks for helping me out there.

Brennn10 (author)laminterious2008-04-24

No problem dude. Because if the creator of the content were to see that you did not credit him, then there may be some problems. Citing is a great skill to learn, as once you get into higher education, it becomes imperative in the projects/papers you do.

sugarego (author)Brennn102009-05-21

you know, i think this is just one of those things that a lot of people think of. i've done a number of things similar to this (not with a box), including stuffing grass and handfuls of dirt, as well as all the other paper (ripped up) into the reply envelope. if i posted that i did it on instructables, i would not be failing to cite the sources of all the other people who've done it and written about it online; i'd just be putting it online like they did. mellow out. it's just not that unusual of an idea, and the spirit of the idea is to save trees, not prove ingenuity.

costath (author)2009-02-12

I sort/open my mail over my trash can. Basically I go from my mail box to the trash can (outside). Saves time and energy. I give no thought, care or energy to anyone that chooses to spend their money sending things to me I never asked for or will buy.

sugarego (author)costath2009-05-21

i understand your sentiment, and do the same thing (except i take my junk mail to the blue recycle bin). but really, you should give some care. just do a couple of quick google searches to see how many trees die for junk mail. it'll almost make you cry. or vomit.

darthneo (author)2009-05-03

since the post office just throws out most bussiness reply mail thats attached to a box, wouldn't it be more expensive if you just called the company and asked a bunch of questions and put them on hold?

kenn123 (author)2008-12-20

I'd suggest putting some corn starch in the envelope weight to it, but imagine the person who opens the envelope of "white powder"

darthneo (author)kenn1232009-05-03

i heard thats illegal to do, because it looks like anthrax

Gamer917 (author)kenn1232009-03-08

they'll be finding the stuff all over the place for months

Gamer917 (author)2009-03-08

for free mail, put the address of the person your mailing it to as the return address

Sandisk1duo (author)Gamer9172009-03-08

that's not free, when the envelope reaches the address, that person has to pay for postage

darthneo (author)Sandisk1duo2009-05-03

it'd be free to me, but sucks to be the addressee lol

luvit (author)2009-04-25

while you're giving credit to a bunch of other sites... please give credit to me too. it will feel good even though it's not due. :)

Audey (author)2008-04-24

Actually, If a no postage envelope is sent back as a label, It gets thrown out.
Put something in the envelope instead.

laminterious (author)Audey2008-04-24

So then just make sure to either weigh down the envelope as much as the envelope can carry, or fill it with something obnoxious, like glitter or metal shavings, or something.

tigerboy (author)laminterious2008-05-07

or fill it with lead, or any heavy material

tictac24 (author)tigerboy2008-05-18

Waste lead on junk mailers!? You'd be better off turning it in for scrap.

tigerboy (author)tictac242008-05-18

well its heavy and cheap

Why not some rocks? :P They're useless and perfect!

If you want, send me bunch of gravel.

they are not useless! they are valued members of the community! lol jk, perfect idea tho. haha

Audey (author)laminterious2008-04-26

Which is what I just said.

camb00 (author)2008-05-07

lol i sent a envelope in a n envelope in an envelope and so on and it the middle i put a weed lol

lunchboxslayer27 (author)camb002009-01-09


Sandisk1duo (author)2008-12-11

this is sooo EPIC!!!

K-Sue (author)2008-06-14

Once my uncle filed for bankruptcy, he stopped receiving junk mail. I guess they know you have no money and no credit....hmmmmm,wonder how they find that out?

casey321b (author)2008-05-17

its from and old book called "Steal This Book" by Abby Hoffman

Plasmana (author)2008-05-13

Thank you so much for this great Instructable!!! What a great way to make junk mailers to pay BIG bucks for sending us junk mail. You could also put your trash paper, cardboard, old phone books, or even junk mail in use boxes and ship it off to the junk mailer! Again this is a great instructable!

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