This is my personal review of the PaperKarma app.
To be clear:
I didn’t test out the app for 10 minutes and call it a day.
In fact, I’ve been using PaperKarma for a month. During that time, I’ve used it to unsubscribe from 13 mailing lists.
Now it’s time for me to help you decide if PaperKarma is right for you.
PaperKarma Overview: How to Use It to Stop Junk Mail
The company makes a bold claim: “Snap a photo. Stop paper junk mail.”
It turns out the app really is that easy to use. It almost feels like magic.
Here’s how to use PaperKarma:
1. Take a photo of a piece of junk mail. Specifically, the app tells you to capture the mailer logo or return address.
2. Tap “Unsubscribe” to send your unsubscribe request. (Certain mailing lists, such as financial offers, might require an additional confirmation.)
YOU’RE DONE! 🥳 Do a little dance if you want.
See how simple it is?? The whole process takes about 30 seconds.
So…Does PaperKarma Actually Stop Junk Mail?
I’ve used the app to unsubscribe from 13 mailing lists, including some near-daily mailers like Local Flavor and RetailMeNot Everyday.
Since unsubscribing, I’ve stopped receiving mail from all but one of them.
And based on the results so far, I’m confident that I’ll eventually be removed from the remaining company’s mailing list. (It can take up to 12 weeks to be removed. It’s been three since I sent the unsubscribe request.)
Why I Now Love Junk Mail
Yep, you read that right.
More specifically, I love stopping junk mail. I now get a little thrill every time I see junk mail in my mailbox. It gives me a chance to open up PaperKarma and unsubscribe from the mailing list.
Unsubscribing is so easy to do (dare I say fun?), and it makes me feel like I’m doing a teeny tiny part to reduce my environmental impact.
Of course, now I hardly get any more junk mail. So I’m using the app less frequently.
To chase the unsubscribe high, I’ve started stopping my roommates’ junk mail. (That’s right! You can add multiple names and addresses to your account.)
They thank me, but deep down it is ME who wants to thank THEM.
Is PaperKarma Worth It?
PaperKarma offers a free trial, after which you’ll have to upgrade to a paid subscription to keep using the app.
The free trial is absolutely worth it. Sign up right now. If I haven’t gotten my point across yet, the app is SO EASY to use and it actually works.
But what about a paid subscription?
I paid for a one-month subscription and don’t regret doing so. I’d gladly do it over again.
You can unsubscribe yourself from most mailing lists for free — instructions are usually somewhere on the mailer — but, be honest, are you really going to bother doing that?
I know I never did. I just tossed the mailers in the recycling, day after day. The one time I actually did unsubscribe from a mailing list, it took THREE calls to finally get through to someone who could unsubscribe me.
If you want to avoid that hassle, I think as many months of PaperKarma as you need is a worthwhile investment. In fact, in a world where spending money almost always adds to your carbon footprint, a PaperKarma subscription may be one of the rare exceptions. It’s cheap, to boot.
Also, if you’re unsubscribing from catalogs and mailers because they tempt you into spending money — kudos on the self-awareness! — then it’s a no-brainer. One fewer catalog purchase and your subscription has paid for itself many times over.
The Bottom Line
Surprisingly, stopping paper junk mail with PaperKarma is actually as easy as taking a photo with your phone.
I’ve used it to successfully unsubscribe from 13 mailing lists. Now I hardly get any junk mail. Better yet, I feel like I’ve done a teeny tiny part to reduce my carbon footprint and environmental impact.
I recommend giving the free trial a whirl then upgrading to the paid version if you still need it.
I’ll end with this:
If you’re considering using PaperKarma out of environmental or climate concerns, keep things in perspective.
Junk mail is a tiny contributor to your carbon footprint. Stopping it is a good thing, but it’s not going to reduce your personal emissions by much.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t use the app. It’s so quick and easy that I think it’s worth the five minutes of your time.
But I encourage you not to stop there. Tackle the real contributors to your footprint, like home energy and transportation.