03 December, 2008

No Junk Mail

The scene was grim, Tuesday afternoon, as I sorted through the piles of junk mail we'd received in the past three weeks. Piles and heaps and heaps of piles of tree pulp turned into ads promising the best deals on holiday food, toys, roof repairs, and consumer electronics.

Consumer. Consumption. That's the word for it. We are voracious consumers, and no matter how much we avoid playing into the "spend, use, and spend some more" game, it is nearly impossible to avoid. The dictionary defines consumption as, "The act or process of consuming by use, waste, etc.; decay; destruction." I think that says it all, really. We consume, whether we realize it or not. We consume every tree pulled own for the production of the junk mail we then consume again by throwing it out.

In 2004, alone, Australia delivered to homes 8.2 billion pieces of junk mail, with the average household receiving 20 items of unaddressed mail per week and 15% of addressed mail coming from soliciting companies, as well. Keep in mind, the population of Australia is around a mere 20 million.

So, what can be done with all the junk? Some suggest mulching one's plants with the mess. Alas, most of the mail we receive is on glossy paper and uses excessive colored inks, which make them less than beneficial to our garden. I suppose abstract art is an option, but frankly, I don't have the time or urge. And thus, into the recycling bin it goes. All three armloads full.

Photo by Everita

It angers me each time I pull the pages upon pages of nonsense begging for our nonexistent money from our mailbox. Now I am in the process of figuring out how to make it stop. We will be installing the tacky, yet unavoidable, "No Junk Mail" sticker on our letterbox. We will also be registering on the Australian Direct Marketing Association's Do Not Contact list, and e-mailing companies that continue to send soliciations. But this only addresses our unaddressed mail. What can we do to fix the problem on a grander scale?

Perhaps Planet Ark or ACF would be helpful. I don't know. I'm a relative newcomer here, a non-resident, and not eligible to vote, so I feel a bit powerless. I will have to make a real effort to figure this one out.


Maggie ~:) said...

I need to sign up for those services myself for here. This year, I think I'm going to wrap christmas presents in some of the more newspaper-ey junk. I have a goal to not have to buy anymore rolls of christmas wrapping paper ever again.

Good luck!

Kelly the City Mouse said...

You just wouldn't believe the amount here. It's got to be triple whatever I received in the US. Insanity, I tell ya!

Wrapping paper is a really good idea. I have to wonder if there isn't a way to "wash" the paper and reform it into something attractive for giftwrap, etc.

The W.O.W. factor said...

Will they actually NOT deliver junk with your sign?
The US has to deliver all!

It may not be "green" to do so, but our junk mail is firestarter. We don't get newspapers or magazines...and need something to start our heat source with...so junk it is!

Kelly the City Mouse said...

W.O.W. - As best I can tell, they work fabulously, due to the fact that the majority of junk mail here is delivered by stay-at-home-moms who distribute the crap as a side income.

Whereas, we Americans are used to only postal employees delivering junk. We'll still get some crapola from the "posties" as they call mailmen here, but it should decrease greatly!

Nothing wrong with using it as firestarter.. that's some kind of reuse, at least!