Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Return to Sender

Forest Ethics, the folks who brought you the do not call registry, are launching a new campaign to get your name of junk mail lists - finally!

In 2003, Congress created the national Do Not Call Registry—the most popular consumer rights bill in history. Today, people are waiting for a companion registry that will end the onslaught of junk mail.

Since 1991, polls have consistently shown that between 80 and 90% of respondents dislike junk mail and would take some action to reduce it if given the opportunity. Not only does junk mail annoy us, violate our privacy, and foster identity theft—junk mail destroys our environment and contributes to global warming.

Junk Mail Overflows Our Mailboxes

Junk mail in the U.S. accounts for over 100,000,000,000 pieces of mail each year—about 30% of all the mail delivered in the world.

Every year American households receive a total of 104.7 billion pieces of junk mail or 848 pieces of junk mail per household, which requires 6.5 million tons of paper.

Approximately 44% of junk mail goes to landfills unopened; the average American will spend 8 months of their lives dealing with junk mail.

Junk Mail Contributes to Climate Change

It takes more than 100 million trees to produce the total volume of junk mail that arrives in American mailboxes each year—that's the equivalent of clearcutting the entire Rocky Mountain National Park every 4 months.

The manufacture of junk mail releases more greenhouse gas emissions per year than the emissions released by 3.7 million cars.

Deforestation of Indonesia’s tropical forests is responsible for 8% of global carbon emissions.14 This destruction is largely driven by demand for pulp and paper for end uses like junk mail.

Logging contributes to Indonesia’s status as the world’s third largest emitter of CO2 into the Earth’s atmosphere, despite its relatively small size.15

It would take the equivalent of over 500,000 garbage truck loads to dump all junk mail into landfills and incinerators each year.

By the year 2010, almost 50% of the solid mass that makes up our landfills is expected to be paper and paperboard waste.

A response rate of less than 0.25% is considered acceptable for the 500 million U.S. credit card solicitations that are mailed monthly.

A national poll by Zobgy International found that 92% of respondents discard or recycle at least some of their junk mail without reading it.




Shaun said...

The Do Not Mail idea is helpful and I applaud the effort by ForestEthics to save trees. However, phone calls, particularly political robo calls are particularly invasive of our privacy and reduce our quality of life. Mail does not wake you up during the day and night. Mail does not tie your phone lines up and prevent you from calling your doctor in case of an emergency.

I started a non-profit, non-partisan organization last year to combat intrusive robo-calls by using a voluntary, private sector solution: the Political Do Not Contact Registry. As a result I was asked to testify at the U.S. Senate 2.27.2008 along with N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Our registry is similar to the federal government’s Do Not Call list. But to succeed it requires politicians who will honor the wishes of voters who’d rather not endure the endless robotic, political phone calls during campaign season.

Kansas Congresswoman Nancy Boyda has become the second member to sign our pledge this week. She has taken the pledge and agreed not to robo call constituents that sign up on the National Political Do Not Contact Registry at We commend her leadership on this important consumer issue that impacts the privacy of all voters.

Voters’ phones will soon be ringing off the hook this Fall. Fed up voters can visit our web site at and add their names to our free Do Not Call registry. It’s time we give the political dialogue back to average, concerned citizens.

Shaun Dakin
Founder & CEO, the National Political Do Not Contact Registry

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