Have you ever tried finding information on the Royal Mail website about opting out of receiving leaflets delivered by the postman? Probably not. Changes are that you had no idea that Royal Mail has a thing called the Door-to-Door Opt-Out. The opt-out scheme is arguably the best-guarded secret in Junk Mail Land; registering is free and will prevent more junk mail than all other opt-out schemes combined.
Junk mail opt-out services are always run by the same people who use your letterbox as a dumping ground for unsolicited advertisements. Opt-out schemes exist to prevent independently minded MPs might start demanding Government measures that would make stopping unwanted junk mail easy and effective, or that 'consumers' get so fed up that they start setting up websites with names such as stopjunkmail.org.uk. Junk mailers don't want you to opt out. This goes a long way to explaining why only 0.7% of UK households is registered with Royal Mail 'service'. (It could be worse though; only 0.006% is registered with the Direct Marketing Association's Your Choice Dummy Scheme for Unaddressed Mail).
Back to the Royal Mail website then. I though I check to see if Sarah, Royal Mail's online assistant, is aware of the existence of the Door-to-Door Opt-Out by asking her: "How do I stop junk mail?". Here's what Sarah had to say…
Maybe I asked the wrong question. How about feeding this string into my online helper: "opt out unaddressed mail"?
Did I mean to ask if I can postage online? Nope. Last attempt: "Door to door opt-out form".
No Sarah, I don't you want you to hold my mail while I'm away, quite the opposite…
I guess it's up to me then to tell you where to go for information. First of all, there actually is a page with information about the Door-to-Door Opt-Out on the Royal Mail website (the company was forced to set up the page after the Daily Mail started a campaign in 2006, after Royal Mail had suspended a postman for telling people on his round about the existence of the opt-out scheme). As per usual, more comprehensive information can be found in Stop Junk Mail's Guide to Stamping Out Junk Mail.
To get an opt-out form, either phone 01865 796 988 or use the Junk Buster widget. Note that it's not possible to opt out straightaway; you have to first request and fill out a paper form. After returning the form your postie should stop delivering unaddressed mail to your address within six weeks time.