Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thinking Green

I am pretty tired of all the endless daily junk mail. Apparently, the average adult receives an average of 41 pounds per year in junk mail. The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 44% of junk mail is discarded without being opened or read, equaling 4 million tons of waste of paper per year, with just 32% recovered for recycling. I found a few more statistics from the website Native Forest which I find pretty astounding:
  • The majority of household waste consists of unsolicited mail.
  • 100 million trees are ground up each year for unsolicited mail.
  • It wastes 28 billion gallons of water for paper processing each year.
  • More than half of unsolicited mail is discarded unread or unopened; the response rate is less than 2%.
  • The result is more than 4 million tons of paper waste each year.
  • It is difficult to recycle, as the inks have high concentrations of heavy metals.
  • $320 million of local taxes are used to dispose of unsolicited mail each year.
  • It costs $550 million yearly to transport junk mail.
  • Scarce landfill space disfigures rural areas and pollutes ground water.
  • We each get about 40 pounds of junk mail a year, more than a tree's worth per family!
If you are like me and are ready to do something about it, here are a few steps to help get you started. This information was taken from the website Ecofuture.org. For more tips visit this link.

According to the website Ecofuture there was a Federal law passed in 2000 says that you have the right to tell companies not to sell your name. But the law was written in a way that allows financial institutions to hide notices of your rights in fine print. Not that it is easy to eliminate your name from the numerous lists that exist but perhaps in this new year I can perform one task a week! Here are some suggestions:

  • Write the Direct Marketing Association Mail Preference Service, and also write the major credit bureaus.
  • Contact all of your banks and credit card companies and tell them not to release your name, address, social security number, email address, or phone number to anyone else for marketing, mailing, or promotional purposes. This is very important, because of the 2000 privacy law.
  • Similarly contact your credit union and mortgage company.
  • Contact all magazines you subscribe to.
  • Contact mail-order companies you have done business with.
  • Contact all organizations you belong to, universities, and schools.
  • Contact airline frequent flyer and hotel programs you belong to.
  • Contact your cable TV company and long distance telephone carrier. Just about anyone who sends you a bill will sell your name.
  • If you move, don't fill out the Post Office's permanent change of address (COA) form. Make it a temporary (10 month) change and then notify companies and friends. This way, the information will not be entered into the permanent COA database and released to others. Permanent COA information will be provided to third parties, but temporary COA information won't.
  • Contact your phone company and change your listing in the phone book. Request that your name only be listed without your address (most phone companies do this without charge).

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

I hate junk mail! But if there were no junk mail the post office would go out of business! Actually, that is probably a good thing. I hate the post office too!