Got Mail? Here's How to Dump the Junk


Photo by sgoralnick on flickr
The following guest post was submitted by Annabelle Gurwitch, host of WA$TED on Planet Green.

If you're like me, meaning you're a sentient being with a mail box, then I probably don't have to tell you what a horrible scourge junk mail is.

My personal favorite piece of unnecessary mail we received at our house this year is the letter my ten year old son received from Hugh Hefner inviting him to join the Playboy Club-printed on double heavy paper no less!I've tried every manner of action to stem the flow, beginning with calling each and every catalog company to let them know I will no longer purchase from them if they continue to send me their catalogs. Has this worked? Not really. Here's the problem: They tell me my name won't be taken off the list for several months, by which time I've forgotten which companies I've called and they've switched to sending catalogs to my husband, or my name and address has already been forwarded to another company which begins sending their catalogs. I've also registered with the post office and Catalog Choice but that hasn't' worked either.

Here's something I didn't know: It seems that companies are not recognizing third-party company requests, like Catalog Choice requests. So, is this a Sisyphean task to try and Dump the Junk?

That's where you come in- we can all work together by signing the do not mail registry at the Direct Marketing Association.

Before I tell you more, here are a few facts:

How Much Mail is there?

One-third of all the mail delivered in the world is US junk mail. (100 billion pieces annually.)

Every household in the US receives, on average, one piece of personal mail each week and 18 pieces of junk mail.

Are other people concerned about this issue or am I some kooky lone crusader?
According to a recent poll, 89% of Americans support a way to opt out of unwanted mail.

I wouldn't want to stop non-profits from getting the word out, so perhaps I shouldn't sign this petition!

Non-profits right to send direct mail is protected under the first amendment, so Forest Ethics supports a code of best practices, which include reduction, increased recycled content, using FSC certification, clean production and staying out of endangered forest.

Can we win this fight?
In 2003, Congress created the national Do Not Call Registry, the most popular consumer rights bill in history. Today, we need a comparable registry to end the onslaught of junk mail.

Does junk mail really have a huge impact on the environment?
Junk mail invades our privacy and wastes an average of 8 months of our lives, and the environmental impact is even worse: 100 million trees are destroyed to make junk mail every year, which creates greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 3.7 million cars.

Here's the deal: Add your name to the 47,000 people who've already signed up. Forest Ethics is looking to reach 75,000 names and will present the registry to members of the senate.

I can't think of a more patriotic way to spend July 4th than taking a moment out of your day to sign. Got to the Do Not Mail registry. (Signing up is a carbon neutral activity!)

Annabelle Gurwitch is the host of WA$TED on Planet Green. The episode entitled "Where Theres Smoke There's Fire," in which a family is being deluged with catalogs, premieres this month on Planet Green.

Tags: Planet Green | Waste