Spam advertising. "Opt out" option needed.


I had the temerity to write my Democratic Congresswoman suggesting that unsolicited bulk advertising mail was not a net economic gain for our country.

I got a reply saying it was about protecting jobs. Up yours, Congresswoman Susan Davis.

1. Unsolicited.
2. Massive load on the postal system, and a huge profit-maker for them.
3. Costs each recipient a few seconds to go through, at a response rate of ...what, 0.25 percent? I'm guessing the direct mail companies don't want you to know statistics like that. They'd want you to think that LOTS of people routinely respond and use coupons and advertising that arrives unsolicited in the mail.

Problem is that it costs a ton of paper and materials and recipients' time and postal workers' efforts and gas to transport and machines to make spam mail to get that few percentage points of response. Obviously it's worth it to the companies doing the advertising. But it's not worth it to me, the unwitting receiver. I didn't ask for it. I don't come to your house and dump stuff in your hands and force you to look at it before you can get to the stuff that you want to look at.

The net effect on the average mail receiver is very small. But that's millions of people throwing billions of pieces of paper in the trash every day. A) Not good for the environment and B) take a little bit of time from millions of people every day and you now have a HUGE, massive economic inefficiency.

Get rid of this way of advertising and people would still buy products but would be less influenced by what some marketer wants them to buy - and EVERYONE would have a little bit more time every day. To spend with the kids. To get ready for work. Less trash for the trash collectors. Net economic gain for the nation as a whole.

American mailboxes are inundated with junk mail. More than 100,000,000,000 pieces of junk mail are delivered each year—that’s more than 800 pieces per household. In fact, junk mail in the United States accounts for one-third of all the mail delivered in the world. 
  • 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.10
  • The manufacture of junk mail releases more greenhouse gas emissions per year than the emissions released by 9,372,000 million average passenger cars.11  Check out the side bar to find out more facts about the Junk Mail Effect, or read our full report. 
  • 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
Junk Mail Overflows Our Mailboxes 
  • Junk mail in the U.S. accounts for over 100,000,000,000 pieces of mail each year1—about 30% of all the mail delivered in the world.2
  • Every year American households receive a total of 104.7 billion pieces of junk mail3 or 848 pieces of junk mail per household,4 which requires 6.5 million tons of paper.5
  • Approximately 44% of junk mail goes to landfills unopened;6 the average American will spend 8 months of their lives dealing with junk mail.7
  • Entire households only average 1 personal correspondence each week, compared to almost 18 pieces of junk mail.8
  • In 2005 the United States Postal Service processed more junk mail than First Class Mail for the first time, and our postal service is increasingly oriented toward the delivery of unwanted junk mail.9
Landfills and Junk Mail 
  • It would take the equivalent of over 500,000 garbage truck loads to dump all junk mail into landfills and incinerators each year.18
  • By the year 2010, almost 50% of the solid mass that makes up our landfills is expected to be paper and paperboard waste.19
  • State and local governments and their citizens spend hundreds of millions of dollars per year to collect and dispose of all the bulk mail that does not get recycled.20
  • 6.5 million tons of discounted junk mail entered the U.S. municipal solid waste stream in 2006.21
Junk Mail is Inefficient 
  • A response rate of less than 0.25% is considered acceptable for the 500 million U.S. credit card solicitations that are mailed monthly.22
People Really Want a Do Not Mail Registry…And They Have Been Waiting Over 15 Years
  • Since 1991, national polls have consistently shown that between 80 and 90% of respondents dislike junk mail and would take some action to reduce it if they could. 
  • In the Zogby International poll, 93% of respondents were aware of the Do Not Call Registry and 89% of them supported a Do Not Mail Registry to make it easier to opt out of unsolicited ad mail.24

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