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One years worth of junk mail for one person in the US equals about 2 feet. Most of these letters are credit card offers says Dan MacFarlane Which leads me on to my mail and the envelopes in particular. It’s those horrid little windows that are the bloody awful icing on the stale cake of junk mail.

In today’s market, four types of window coverings are used

  • 1. Polystyrene: a plastic film designed specifically for the needs of high-speed envelope production;
  • 2. Cellulose based films, such as: glassine and acetate films;
  • 3. PLA: a new film derived from corn; and
  • 4. Other plastic films used for specific, non-standard applications.

But who can tell the difference – not me. And even if they could you know they are not going to be recycled.

Envelopes with windows are no good for Plastic Free Freaks – especially when all they contain is rubbish.

While I might not be able to ban every envelope from my life I can stop a lot coming through my door.

  • I have converted to paperless billing for all my services.
  • On the rare times I have to send a letter I only use windowless envelopes.
  • The war on junk mail is being waged.

Ways To Stop Junk Mail

Thankfully I have this wonderful man with his infinitely detailed website, (listing all the ways you can stop junk mail), to help me. You can read about him below or go straight to his website here

Compostable envelopes

Envelope makers! You could try this for your window envelopes

“Low scratch, compostable film specifically formulated for use in envelope windows. Meets USPS readability standards for window envelope film. Tinted with a light green hue.”

More

Find other plastic free office supplies and electronics, here.

Diary of a Junk Mail Campaigner

My blog (‘Diary of a Junk Mail Campaigner’) deals with anything I feel people should know about junk mail. It explains – usually at length – how people can reduce unsolicited mail and why stamping out junk mail is not as easy as signing up to the Mailing Preference Service. It investigates whether of not self-regulation by the direct marketing industry can make junk mail more sustainable and exposes the endless stream of junk mail research (invariably showing that direct mail is valued and welcomed by 110% of the population) for what it is; junk research. Occasionally there’s something ‘fun’ on the blog – interesting junk mail art, a video, or just a nice story – but in general the blog is dead boring. As a source for information about junk mail it’s unrivalled though…”

The same description could apply to the website (www.stopjunkmail.org.uk). The aim is to provide detailed and independent information about reducing junk mail. Being a web designer I’m very aware that for instance the Guide to Stamping Out Junk Mail is far too long – few people have a long enough attention span to read through it all. But then the aim is not to entertain people and there are already plenty of websites with short (but incomplete) guides to reducing junk mail. In an attempt to provide the information in a more compact format I set up the website www.junkbuster.org.uk a while ago.

It’s build around the Junk Buster application which people can use to contact up to six opt-out services in one go. I like to describe it as a one-point-stop for reducing junk mail. As for achievements, since the launch of Junk Buster many people have become aware that it’s possible to opt-out of receiving paper directories (people can opt out of the Yellow Pages, Thomson Local Directory and BT Phone Book via the application). None of the directories tell the public that they have this option but after Junk Buster was featured in the Telegraph, Daily Mail and Independent in March things started to change; the Data Publishers Association has now for the first time acknowledged that people can opt out. 192.com is actively campaigning for a central opt-in scheme for directories and I reckon they may achieve their goal.

Another achievement is that Royal Mail is no longer secretive about how many (few!) people register with its Door-to-Door Opt-Out (which stops unaddressed mail delivered by the postman). In 2008 a Royal Mail Manager accidentally told me the figure was less than 0.5% of all UK households. The figure became public knowledge and just a couple of months ago the company publicly confirmed that the figure is currently 0.7%. At the same time the Direct Marketing Association confirmed that only 0.0006% (!!) of households is registered with its Your Choice Scheme. Having these figures out in the open is important because it undermines the industry’s argument that stopping junk mail is easy – if opt-out rates are so negligible something is clearly not working…

Finally, I spent much of my time giving people advice on how to solve their junk mail misery. In a way the campaign is about tackling the junk mail problem, one piece of junk mail at a time. I guess it will keep me occupied for some time to come .

 

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