Environmental Report Exposes Direct Marketers
The 51.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases created each year by direct mail are the annual equivalent of 9.4 million average passenger cars and more than the total emissions of seven U.S. states combined. Those numbers are just part of a blistering report from the nonprofit environmental activist group ForestEthics, which has been campaigning for a national do-not-mail list similar to the nation’s do-not-call legislation. Here are some more findings of the report.
* 100 billion pieces of direct mail are delivered in the U.S. each year, which equates to 848 pieces per household;
* 48.6 percent of the carbon footprint of direct mail is traced back to forest carbon balance, followed by paper production (20.8 percent), landfill emissions (14.2 percent), black carbon (10.9 percent), printing (3.8 percent), forest harvest and transport (1.4 percent), and distribution (1.3 percent);
* 89 percent of respondents to a 2007 poll from the polling and tracking firm Zogby International supported a do-not-mail registry to make it easier to opt out of unsolicited ad mail;
* 34 percent of all Americans — about 100 million people — don’t have access to curbside recycling;
* 44 percent of direct mail goes to landfills unopened;
* 100 million trees are cut down each year to make direct mail — the equivalent of clear-cutting all of Rocky Mountain National Park every four months; and
* 10 percent of all the timber harvested in the Canadian Boreal goes toward creating direct mail in the U.S.
For more information, go to www.forestethics.org.