Credit card junk mail

Don't you like all the junk mail touting credit cards you receive? Over 2005, I kept all these offers and accumulated a nice stack, pictured below:
Here is what I got:
CompanyPieces of mail
Capital One60
Delta Skymiles16
AAdvantage Mastercard28
Bank of America9
American Express14
Horace Mann8
various isolated17
This makes a total of 228! To prevent identity theft, they have been shredded, filling three garbage bags. It is not like I have been on many mailing lists, as I moved to the US in August 2002. The credit card companies were fast to identify me as a target, even though I had no credit history. Their insistance is quite amazing, given that I am quite happy with the credit cards I have and will not move to new ones. And I always pay on time the full balance, something credit bureaus must have picked up by now. Thus I am not interesting to these persistent folks who are looking for hefty finance charges.

How much effort goes into these mailings? One thing you may admire is their ingenuity and creativity in tempting you to open these envelopes. But obviously, there is a cost involved, not just in paper, printing and mailing, but also in waste. According to this website, junk mail creates four million tons of preventable waste each year, fills three percent of America's landfills, costing taxpayers $320 million in disposal fees annually, destroys 62 million trees a year, creates 28 billion gallons of waste water per year. These statistics are for all junk mail, which is in my case in the majority credit cards.

I found it difficult to establish the marketing costs of credit card companies through junk mail. But here are some benchmarks: ADVO, the largest mass mailing company spends $500 million a year in postage. According to this website, marketers spent in 2002 $49.1 billion on direct mail, with credit card companies sending $4 billion pieces of mail.

There are ways to reduce the junk mail, which I list below. I cannot warrant for their effectiveness, though:

Christian Zimmermann.