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Unsubscribe week: another opportunity to cut the clutter

If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to cut back on the amount of junk mail you get at work, now’s your chance: This week is “Unsubscribe Week” at UCOP.

As part of last month’s announcement of Efficiency Review steps, President Janet Napolitano asked UCOP staff to take up the challenge of reducing unwanted and unneeded physical mail. Ending unwanted subscriptions and other forms of junk mail can help OP be much more environmentally responsible, save trees and water and make you more productive. It can also save money by significantly reducing the amount of paper that comes through UCOP and ending unwanted paid subscriptions.

All week this week, as you go through your mail, keep an eye out for items bearing a white sticker with the blue University of California wordmark and three checkboxes. Any mail with that sticker has been flagged by the mailroom as a candidate for cancellation. When you see the sticker, please check one of the boxes and put the piece into your outgoing mail. The mail team will collect and sort the items, and each publication or organization will then be contacted with a request to end the subscription to the unwanted mail.

It’s important for each department to pay special attention to mail addressed to former employees. UCOP receives hundreds of pieces of mail each week addressed to people who no longer work here. Some have been gone for years. That may seem surprising, but it’s consistent with national trends.

“I think it’s going to be a good thing, and hopefully people will work with us so we can cut down on junk mail and save everybody some time,” said Carlos Arias, senior mail processor in the Franklin building, who estimates that as much as 25 to 30 percent of the physical mail UCOP receives is either unwanted or addressed to someone who no longer works here.

Staff are also encouraged to take a few moments next week to cancel any unwanted email subscriptions, too. There’s almost always an unsubscribe link at the bottom of promotional or periodical emails. Simply click on it and follow the instructions to cut back on your flow of promotional emails.

Junk, or direct, mail is a serious environmental issue. According to, more than 100 million trees are destroyed each year to produce junk mail, and about 28 billion gallons of water are used to produce and recycle junk mail annually. Creating and shipping junk mail produces more greenhouse gases than 9 million cars, and the average American spends 70 hours each year dealing with junk mail., an organization dedicated to reducing junk mail, is named for the amount of junk mail the average U.S. adult receives each year.

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