Shifting schedules in the fall can often lead to chaos and clutter accruing all around you. Suddenly, you might find your countertops covered in homework, books, bills, magazines and an increasing pile of junk mail. Did you know all those pieces of unsolicited junk mail you receive aren’t just a mailbox annoyance, but actually have a tremendous impact on the climate?
The Climate Concern
Junk mail production and distribution poses a significant concern for the climate. The average American receives 18 pieces of junk mail for every one piece of personal mail, equating to about 41 pounds each year. Creating these excessive pieces of correspondence takes more than 100 million trees annually; that’s 100 million fewer trees for oxygen generation and carbon absorption, contributing to a warming atmosphere.
Junk mail transportation is an issue, too; the journey junk mail makes from the facility to your mailbox is equivalent to the carbon footprint produced by 9 million cars!
Not all junk mail is created equally, and it cannot be disposed of similarly, either. The printing process and supplies used to make junk mail can contain heavy metals, making it increasingly difficult to recycle. Approximately 40% of junk mail is thrown away unopened, ending up in landfills and emitting methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.
Unsubscribe from Snail Mail
How can you curb climate impacts caused by junk mail? Start with these two steps!
- Audit Your Mailbox – As you receive mail, take a quick minute to separate it into what’s valuable to receive and what you’re okay foregoing. You can contact a lot of these companies to remove your name from their subscriber list!
- Shift to Digital – Save those routine bills for your inbox instead of your mailbox! Most companies have a paperless billing option that you can easily set up with a simple phone call or online form. This leads to less climate impact and decreased chances of losing critical paperwork!
Published September 8, 2022