Ben Franklin once said that nothing in life is certain, “except death and taxes”. However, Ben didn’t know about junk mail. Across the University, thousands of pieces of unwanted mail find their way to staff mailboxes daily. This postal invasion has environmental consequences on multiple fronts- from the wasted paper to the unnecessary energy of production and transportation, not to mention the wasted time Harvard employees spend dealing with this paper.

The FAS Green Program is finding new ways to reduce the burden of junk mail on campus. Unable to keep up with the popularity of our junk mail boxes, we’re replacing them with our new junk mail stands that contain both instructions for reducing junk mail and a “Return to sender” stamp. Using tips from our Eco Citizens, staff will be empowered to reclaim their mailboxes, both at Harvard and at home, and hopefully send a message to companies that their waste is not wanted.

  • In many cases, you can get off junk mail lists by simply calling or emailing a company, but some companies don’t get the message. Here are a few innovative tips we’ve received from Eco Citizens to make the message clearer:
  • Write “Unsubscribe” on the back of the magazine or catalogue (where your address is) and fax it to the publisher. Be sure your name, address, and, if you see one, subscription #, are visable.
  • Use the prepaid envelopes from Credit Card Solicitors to send them a “Please Unsubscribe” note. As with your magazine, make sure your name, address and subscription # are visible, but be careful to not provide any more personal information.
  • Use any one of a number of online companies that will unsubscribe you from multiple pieces of junkmail at once. We’re fans of and, to name a few.

To get more tips and a junkmail stand for your office, please email