It would seem in this simultaneous generation of evolution to Government 2.0 and Web 2.0, as well as greater environmental consciousness, that something could be done about “junk” mail. Why do we still get junk mail in these days of e-mail, electronic bill payment and overall transitions to paperless systems? Over 90% of my mail is junk mail, as I am sure it is for many of you out there. I am sure this can not make the postal workeres happy and I am certain it does not make many of us happy either.
The environmental impact is astounding. Thanks to: www.41pounds.org/impact for posting these astounding facts:
-More than 100 million trees are destroyed each year to produce junk mail. 42% of timber harvested nationwide becomes pulpwood for paper.
-The world’s temperate forests absorb 2 billion tons of carbon annually. Creating and shipping junk mail produces more greenhouse gas emissions than 9 million cars.
– About 28 billion gallons of water are wasted to produce and recycle junk each year.
-You waste about 70 hours a year dealing with junk mail.
Any thoughts on how we can reduce junk mail would be much appreciated.
I’m with you on that. I get junk mail at home and at work. If there is a way that junk mail can be eliminated or decreased, I’m for it.
Where’s the petition?! 🙂 I’d sign up!
Here’s a page of resources that my local Solid Waste District put together for opting out of junk mail. Much of it should apply to everyone.The Postal Service refers to it as Standard Mail and from what I hear, would go bankrupt if they didn’t have so much of it to deliver.
Thanks for sharing! You’re probably right on the USPS….
Speaking of the USPS, I never heard anymore on when/if they were going to quit Saturday mail delivery! Cutbacks everywhere unemployment will reach 10% soon I’m afraid!
Wonderful idea 🙂
Good list EXCEPT one needs to be very careful when recycles the junk mail. MOST security experts recommend that you shred anything that has the potential to be used for identity theft (credit card applications, insurance “come on’s” etc. I personally shred anything that has my name and address on it, if it is sent to current resident not an issue.
That’s a good point, Henry. I’ll mention it to them, as they may want to add a bit about identity theft to their page.
This is something that will eventually happen over evolution. Remember – there are still ALOT of people (Bill payers, consumers, etc) that do not own computers and do not use email. Considering how much easier life is for them I can’t really say I blame them.
Also – Email needs to be redone. POP3 and SMTP are very old technologies that need to go bye bye . As long as these technologies exists you will continue to have junk email. I am curious to see how the new Google Wave handles email communication.
Thanks for all of the great responses. I certainly wouldn’t want to put the Postal Service out of business. However, there has to be a way to better handle this mail. Perhaps environmental regulations on junk mail? Instituting the use of recycled paper and less colored ink could be one smal step. Any other ideas out there?
I don’t think the Postal Service will ever go out of business. If standard mail goes the way of the dodo, we’ll just have to pay a whole bunch more for first class and priority postage.
Thanks for bringing this up because it is very true. So much paper, energy and time is wasted with the junk mail we all get. I like your idea of instituting regulations around using recycled paper, less colored ink, etc – I think this could only help. I’m amazed at the high quality, heavy glossy paper magazines I get, and often get duplicates of…cutting down on this at the very least seems to be a no brainer…
I love this idea, Cary. I followed the advice of different websites and wrote to junk mail producers to opt out. It was a big hassle (several even wanted follow-up letters to confirm I was sincere) and yet made no difference in my junk mail receipts. I would -pay- the USPS to protect me from junk mail.
Another thing: I wish the USPS would require the junk mail producers to post their contact information prominently on the junk mail. I can’t help but wonder if I sent my 12+ “desist” letters to the wrong producers. I can’t find a good return address on the mailers that I want to stop.
I jumped on this one because I mentally inserted an ‘e’ before mail. I’d love to get rid of the junk email I get through official channels. Specifically, those shotgunned out emails that assumes everyone wants to know about the “fun run” sanctioned by my Agency. Or, that a specific building (out of 8) has a/c problems. Or, …well, you have probably gotten them too. For now, I’m running a rule that automatically shunts emails from specific folks into folders, then I go in and review/delete them 2x a week.
As a Postal Service employee, I’d like to add a little additional information. The Postal Service works very closely with the mailing industry to bring about the “greening’ of the mail. And for every person who doesn’t want one mailer’s advertisers, they enjoy receiving advertising mail from others. According to the US federal courts, asking the Federal government to determine which pieces a particular mail recipient wants, or does not want, (even if the mail recipient requested it) presents a serious First Amendment issue. First class mail, which allows you to mail a card from Portland, ME to Fairbanks, AK for $0.44, benefits from revenues from other classes of mail, including Standard Mail. And while there are many alternatives available to urban and suburban dwellers, rural America is still best served, 6 days a week (at least for now), by the Postal Service. To learn about the Postal Service’s efforts in this regard, check out: http://www.usps.com/communications/newsroom/facts/postalfacts2009.pdf#search='trillion dollar mailing industry’.
Thanks for sharing Lisa! It’s good to have an actual Postal Service employee’s insight.
The Direct Marketing Association already provides a do not mail service. I signed up some time ago, and have experienced a reduction, though not a cessation, of junk mail.
They also have an email preference service.
Of course, the lists only affect junk from DMA members.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I will check out http://www.dmachoice.org/ right away =)
I use a service started in 2008 called ProQuo (www.proquo.com). They offer a free version of the service that works very well to remove yourself from a number of the main junk mail databases, brokers, other directories, and pre-screened credit offers. You can also add your spouses name under the same account to take care of the junk mail for both of you.
The free version sign-up is here:
They also have a paid version if you don’t want to print the generated letter and mail it yourself. The paid version also lets you control catalog subscriptions. It’s about $18 a year, but if you sign up for the free version first they usually offer you an upgrade price of $9 a year.
I’ve been using the free service for about a year now and have seen a drastic reduction in my wife and I’s junk mail levels.