It's an intriguing thought that came up today in a meeting with Cyndi, Lea and friends. I know companies do it because it brings in more revenue than it costs. But in environmental terms it's a very big waste - it's like a restaurant bringing me every single dish on the menu and asking me to throw away all the ones I didn't want.
And if you thought plastic bags were bad:
*103.5 billion pieces were delivered in the USA in 2007, according to the U.S. Postal Service.
* each year junk mail production in the U.S. consumes 96.7 billion gallons of water and more than 100 million trees,
* those figures don't include the footprint of its transportation and disposal either
* Junk mail has nonenvironmental problems too. It exposes you to identity theft and is a drag to sort through.
source: Forest Ethics via salon life 12/07
In the UK you can opt out of direct mail as an individual using the following details
Unaddressed mail - Opt-Outs, Royal Mail, Kingsmead House, Oxpens Road, Oxford, OX1 1RX
Addressed mail - Mail Preference Service (MPS), Freepost 29, LON 20771, London, W1E 0ZT or call 0845 703 4599
In the US there are sophisticated new services to block it for you such as GreenDimes.com
But what if you wanted for instance to ask the banking sector as a whole to stop sending it (if they all did, they would all end up with roughly the same market shares they have today, it's not likely people are going to stop needing the services they really need, and there are many other ways to generate leads more responsibly - plus they would save a packet)?
Then you would need a public recognition (as with plastic bags) that it is letting the side down. And an incentive to lead the way. We had quite a good idea today on how to do this, watch this space :J