In her book, Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life (2008, Collins), Sophie Uliano gives seven reasons to eliminate junk mail (not including how annoying it is).
- It wastes 28 billion gallons of water for paper processing each year.
- Most junk mailers use inks with high concentrations of heavy metals like zinc and magnesium in addition to high-gloss UV varnishes, which are difficult to recycle.
- The result is more than 4 million tons of paper waste each year.
- It costs $320 million of taxpayers’ money to dispose of unsolicited mail each year.
- It costs $550 million to transport junk mail every year.
- Landfill space is getting to the point that it disfigures rural areas and pollutes groundwater.
- We each get about 40 pounds of junk mail a year–more than a tree’s worth per family.
So before you send out that mass mailing to try and attract new clients, and I know you don’t think that counts as “junk mail,” consider that every year, 100 million trees are chopped down for unsolicited mailings. The equivalent of more than nine large trees worth of paper are sent to each U.S. home every year, and the response rate is less than 2%. Local taxes, including yours, are used to dispose of this mail that most people didn’t want in the first place.