Installation mailrooms cutting down on junk mail

By David VergunOctober 6, 2014

Junk mail
Around 1.5 billion pieces of official and personal mail are processed through military mail rooms annually, serving nearly three million Service members and civilians Defense Department wide. An estimated 75 percent of commercial mail going to these ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 3, 2014) -- Some Army posts are like small cities with their own zip codes and thousands of Soldiers living and working there. A lot of mail comes through the installation mail room, some of it important and much of it unsolicited.

In an effort to cut down on unsolicited mail, known as "junk mail," and save on postage used to forward mail to Soldiers who have transferred, some installation mail rooms have subscribed to a no-fee service known as Waste-free Mail, according to Tommie L. Kelley, manager, Military Postal Service Agency, Arlington, Virginia.

Among the Army installations using the service are Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Fort Carson, Colorado; and, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Kelley emphasized that since this is a private company, he is not at liberty to officially endorse the service for other installations not using the service, but it is available to them if they wish to cut down on unwanted mail that can cost time and man-hours for the workers.

Michael Sanders, founder of the company and a former postal service employee, said he is not aware of any other company offering this service. His service is offered at no charge to the military, and the money he makes is from businesses that pay him for stopping undeliverable mail.

Stopping mail from going to Soldiers who don't want it or have transferred or left the Army actually saves the businesses the cost of doing mass mailings, so it's a win-win for the businesses, his company and the Soldiers and installations, he said, adding it's also good for the environment, since a lot of the tossed mail ends up in landfills.

Sanders said that about 1.5 billion pieces of official and personal mail are processed annually through military mail rooms, serving nearly three million Service members and civilians across the Defense Department.

Of note, he said, more than 75 percent of commercial mail going to these installations is undeliverable, mainly because the address of the recipient has changed.

Soldiers on installations not subscribing to this service are free to contact the company themselves if they want to be removed from business mailings or desire instead to receive their unsolicited business mail digitally, Sanders said.

The site is: For Access Code, enter: DEMD-ZRDT-YQMX for a demo.

Besides the Army, the other services, including the Coast Guard use his services, as well as businesses, education institutions and government agencies. All transactions are business-to-business, Sanders said, meaning that Soldiers transferring to a new duty station would stop mail from going to their old military address, not their personal residence. The post office has forms for residential change of address.

(J.D. Leipold contributed to this article. For more ARNEWS stories, visit, or Facebook at, or Twitter @ArmyNewsService)

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