More than 100 million trees each year are destroyed to produce junk mail (that is 273,972 trees each day!). The amount of money and waste that goes into direct mail is mind-blowing. Here are some facts from 41pounds.org:
- 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.
Your Mailbox Today
- The pulp and paper industry is the single largest consumer of water used in industrial activities in developed countries, and it’s the third-largest industrial greenhouse gas emitter (after the chemical and steel industries).
- The average adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail each year. 44% goes to the landfill unopened.
- On average, we receive 16 pieces of junk mail a week, compared to only 1.5 personal letters.
- The majority of household waste consists of junk mail.
- 40% of the solid mass that makes up our landfills is paper and paperboard waste.
- Junk mail inks have high concentrations of heavy metals, making the paper difficult to recycle.
- $320 million of local taxes are used to dispose of junk mail each year.
- Transporting junk mail costs $550 million a year.
- Lists of names and addresses used in bulk mailings reside in mass data-collection networks. Your name is typically worth 3 to 20 cents each time it is sold.
And for those of you in the marketing field, great article from HubSpot.com on the ROI (return on investment) of Direct Mail vs. Email Marketing…. Dollar for dollar email wins by a SIGNIFICANT amount… not to mention, the calculated numbers do not factor the additional associated costs on the environment and costs of dealing with the collection and waste of the mail itself. Here is the article:
HOW TO STOP YOUR “JUNK” MAIL (websites below assist in stopping junk mail, some require some work on your end):
- GreenDimes.com – http://www.greendimes.com/how_do_i_stop_junk_mail/
- 41pounds.org will do it for you for a one time fee of $35
- MyJunkTree.com will help you – 3 yr subscription is $20
- You can write “return to sender” on any solicitations that are first class mail (unfortunately it will not work on 3rd class mail)
At times I am conflicted to write some of the suggested “changes” as I realize these industries employ an outstanding number of people (postal service, marketing professionals, artists, printing companies, etc), which is important, though finding more creative solutions to advertising and reaching audiences with sustainability in mind is an incredible and necessary feat.