Environmental Impact of Junk Mail.

Junk mail by its very definition is one of the most wasteful things that come into our homes. We work to use less energy, conserve water, use less paper, and eat healthy just to have 15 pieces of wasted mail sitting in our box when we get home.

Have any idea what the collective impact is from all the junk mail that gets pushed out every year? Here are some figures for context:

  • 100 billion pieces of junk mail are circulated in the United States each year.
  • 100 million trees are cut down to support junk mail production. That equals over 10,000 square miles required to support junk mail production (assuming 25 years for trees to mature).
  • Over 40 pounds of junk mail per year per adult.
  • Over 40% of junk mail goes to landfill still sealed.
  • 500,000 garbage trucks would be required to gather all the junk mail.
  • 100s of millions of credit card applications mailed annually with only 0.25% responded to.
  • 28 billion gallons of water are used to process and recycle junk mail.

A Department of Energy report shows that the paper industry is the 4th largest producer of carbon dioxide among manufacturers.

It is staggering to think that this problem is seen as a collective waste of resources, time, and money yet so few people take action to do something about it.

What Can You Do About Junk Mail?

The companies that send out the mailings tend to make the opt-out process confusing or difficult. In many cases, you have no idea where to start. That doesn’t mean you don’t have options.

While there are subscription services out there, vendors like Catalog Choice will work to get your name off distribution lists on your behalf for free. The process takes a total of 2-minutes to complete including verification of your email address.

Allow the process between 2-4 months to really kick in. Once it does you can enjoy the fact that you’re not being bombarded with junk mail and you’re doing something positive for the planet. You should make sure you recycle any junk mail that still arrives in your mailbox – as the volume goes down, your recycling will also.

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