It can get downright obnoxious. You come home to find your mailbox stacked with circulars, postcards, and yellow or pink envelopes marked “Urgent” disguised as bills or checks.
Americans receive about 100 billion pieces and 4 million tons of junk mail each year. That works out to about 287 million pieces of mail sent to our mailboxes every single day! Here are a few arguments for why junk mail should be eliminated once and for all.
Bogs Down Our Postal Carriers
There was a story in the news recently about Mailman Steve, a postal carrier who was caught hoarding all of the junk mail on his route. He would basically leave all of the junk mail in his truck every day, only deliver the relevant mail to his customers, and pile the junk in his garage every night. Postal inspectors came to his home to find stacks of undelivered junk mail. When asked why he did this, he simply stated that the junk mail was a burden; he couldn’t deal with the ever growing workload while distributing the mail efficiently.
If the mail is a burden on him, imagine how much of a burden it is to everyday working people who must come home to receive it. Mailman Steve basically stated that it was more important to him that people received their important pieces of mail in an efficient manner. That guy’s a hero.
Many people don’t realize that most junk mail is generated by companies who know very personal information about you, such as how many children you have in the house, whether you have pets, or if you like buy diet products (trying to lose weight). These companies buy this very private information from other sources, such as the companies you do business with, and the credit reporting agencies. If you take the time to really look over the privacy policies of these companies, you will see that we are actively permitting them to sell our personal information over and over again.
Going Green — Environmental Concerns
With the Green movement in full effect, the fact that junk mail is even still permitted in the United States is amazing. According to a recent petition by the environmentalist organization Forest Ethics, junk mail kills 100 million trees every year and causes the same global warming effects as 3.7 million cars. If we’re so passionate about going green as a country, why hasn’t junk mail been targeted yet?
Forest Ethics has made a very reasonable suggestion in their petition : that a Do Not Mail registry be established where people can finally opt out of receiving junk mail. It’s not clear whether this issue is even being considered in Congress, but it would definitely resolve many of the problems that excessive junk mail creates on a daily basis.