Skip links

#23 Junk Mail

#23 Junk Mail

Are you aware that the average American gets 18 pieces of junk mail for every one piece of standard mail? Junk mail is not only an annoyance – more importantly it is a negligent use of our natural resources. The forests on Earth absorb 2 billion tons of carbon a year. Junk mail adds to rapid deforestation – meaning there are fewer trees aiding in the reduction of greenhouse gases. 

The Great Paper Waste:

To produce junk mail, we must rely upon trees. It is estimated that over 100 million trees are used annually to produce junk mail alone. Global deforestation is responsible for almost 20% of all carbon emissions – which is the leading contributor to global warming. Let’s look at some additional facts on junk mail. 

Facts on Junk Mail:

  • Over 100 billion pieces of junk mail are delivered in the US every year.
  • The EPA reports that 60% of all junk mail ends up in landfills, and is not recycled.
  • Direct mail marketing in the US is a $10 billion industry.
  • 33% of all mail delivered worldwide is junk mail. 
  • Junk mail produces more than 51 million metric tons of greenhouse gases each year – which is equivalent to 9 million passenger cars.
  • Junk Mail adds 1 billion pounds of waste to the landfill each year. 
  • The U.S. Postal Service installed over 4,000 postal recycling stations around the country to combat paper waste. 
Junk Mail in a Pile

How can I make an impact:

Tier 1: Global Goodness

  • Start by recycling all junk mail. Most junk mail can be recycled into paperboard and tissue products.
  • Go paperless. Register your accounts to receive all communication via email.  
  • Don’t sign up for things you don’t want or need. Simply decline when people offer to send you advertisements for new products.  

Tier 2: Planet Protector

  • All of Tier 1
  • Eliminate credit card promotions by calling 1-888-567-8688 (that’s 888-5OPT-OUT).
  • If you don’t use your local phone book, contact DexPages and opt of of next years print.  
  • Donate to charities that don’t bombard you with junk mail. 
  • Spread the word about the environmental effects of junk mail.  

Tier 3: Earth Angel

  • All of Tier 1 & 2
  • Plant trees. There are numerous non-profits around the country that make planting trees a priority.
  • Stop unwanted catalogsCatalog Choice is a free service that sends merchants your opt-out request.  
  • Remove your name from mailing lists. It can take up to 90 days for the junk mail to stop. There is a $2.00 processing fee.  

Facts References:

Junk Mail and the Environment

Join the Discussion

Return to top of page
Stay updated about upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, healthy recipes, and more!
We respect your privacy.