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calendar   Thursday - August 07, 2008

A Semi-Solution

I got an email this morning from a friend ...

I just signed my name onto a petition asking Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, to support the creation of a Do Not Mail Registry in the United States.

Please consider adding your name to the list of supporters calling for the creation of a national Do Not Mail Registry.

Junk mail is more than just an annoyance; it’s an environmental crisis.  Every year, junk mail production destroys 100 million trees, creating as much global warming emissions equivalent to the emissions of 3.7 million cars.

We deserve the right to protect our privacy and our time. We deserve clean air and forest protection.  Sign our petition today and take back your mailbox:

Thank You!

This sounds great at first. I hate junk mail. My guess is that 85% of what shows up in my mailbox is garbage. Without junk mail I’d get about 20 envelopes a month. That suits me just fine.  I really don’t need two catalogs a week from Lands End, Cabela’s, or MidwayUSA. Or the pool supply place I bought one thing from 8 years ago. Or the candy shop in California I ordered from once. It’s a real pain in the ass, just another one of life’s little hassles we have to deal with every single day.

The link takes you to the Forest Ethics page, where you see the petition. It reads

Dear Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi; Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid:

Five years after the national Do Not Call Registry became the most popular consumer rights bill in history, citizens still face a different form of harassment: junk mail. Every year, Americans receive about 105 billion pieces of junk mail like credit card offers, coupons, and catalogs—that’s 848 pieces of junk mail per household. Even though 44% of that mail goes to the landfill unopened, we still spend eight months of our lives dealing with it all.

Junk mail is more than just an annoyance; it’s an environmental crisis. Every year, junk mail production destroys 100 million trees, creating global warming emissions equivalent to the emissions from 3.7 million cars.

We deserve the right to protect our privacy and our time. We deserve clean air and forest protection. We, the undersigned, support the creation of a national Do Not Mail Registry to provide a simple and comprehensive way for us to say no to junk mail.

This itself is not a bad idea. The national Do Not Call thing pretty much killed telemarketing, and that’s a good thing. If such a bill becomes law it might cut down on junk mail by a huge amount. And sure, that’s a whole lot less paper being used and trees being felled because of it. But I think this is only a partial solution.

I think the entire problem begins and ends with the Post Office. Junk mail exists solely because of their Bulk Mail discount rate, and it’s a tremendous discount. You and I are paying 42¢ to mail a letter, but the junk mailers pay less than 11¢. In theory this is because they do a large part of the pre-sorting work themselves, and supposedly drop the mail off at the local POs. Well, if that’s the case, then I should be able to mail a local letter for the same 11¢. One letter by itself is as pre-sorted as it can be, and if it’s local it doesn’t need to be shipped anywhere. It can be delivered by the carriers working out of that building. So where is my discount? HA!!! And no, I don’t believe quantity discounts should apply here. The stamp buys you the service of hand delivery. It’s the same service for each piece, whether you mail one letter or ten million.

The Post Office is failing because of junk mail. It amounts to 70% of the number of letters processed, but brings in less than a third of the revenue. That’s why the price of stamps goes up just about every year. Get rid of the Bulk Rate discount and the PO would make a fortune. Or they could reduce the price of stamps down to a quarter. Not only would it save a huge bunch of trees, it would allow them to trim their staff by a large amount. Carrying around less than half as much mail would save loads of fuel, and would be kind to the aching backs of the few carriers who actually schlep a bag around by foot. And it might make for a happier work environment too, so we’d have fewer episodes of people “going postal”.

The US Government should not be in the advertising business. Equal Rights, Equal Treatment Under The Law ... one rate for everyone. 


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 08/07/2008 at 11:18 AM   
Filed Under: • Big BusinessEnvironmentGovernment •  
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