Saturday, April 11, 2015

Should I Recycle Junk Mail Or Shred It?

It is not widely agreed upon as to how much junk mail Americans receive each year, but all are in
agreement that it is entirely too much. Catalogs, insurance offers, magazines, coupon books, and credit card offers, just to name a few.

Some say that the average amount of junk mail delivered to each Americans is around 41 pounds. In fact, a whole organization has been formed around this theory called,

One of the founders of this organization stated, "We started because we were continually overwhelmed with unwanted and wasteful junk mail — and we found out some staggering statistics that really bothered us about how costly junk mail is to our communities and the planet.

To produce and process 4 million tons of junk mail a year, 100 million trees are destroyed and 28 billion gallons of water is wasted. And, global warming gases equivalent to 9 million cars are produced. In addition, $320 million of local taxes are spent to dispose of junk mail each year instead of providing parks, libraries, health care and other valuable services."

Junk mail is generally printed on virgin raw materials, using little or no post-consumer recycled material. It also is usually full of toxic inks and multiple types of paper.

Some staggering statistics about junk mail are below:
  • 5.6 million tons of catalogs and other direct mail advertisements end up in US landfills annually.
  • 44% of junk mail is thrown away unopened, but only half that much junk mail (22%) is recycled.
  • The average American household receives 848 pieces of junk mail per household, equal to 1.5 trees every yearmore than 100 million trees for all U.S. households combined.
  • Junk mail destroys 100 million trees a year—the equivalent of deforesting all of Rocky Mountain National Park every four months.
  • Largely due to deforestation, junk mail manufacturing creates as much greenhouse gas emissions annally as 3.7 million cars.
  • Americans pay 370 million annually to dispose of junk mail that does not get recycled. has suggested ways to reduce the amount of junk mail we receive and hopefully help us to "opt out" completely.
  1. Mark junk mail as "Return to Sender"
  2. Opt out with
  3. Opt out with ProQuo
  4. Subscribe to
  5. Stop junk mail before it starts 
  6. Use
After all of that, if you do receive junk mail, specifically credit card solicitations, shredding is the best option. Identity thieves are hoping that these somehow make it into your regular trash. A new credit card could easily be requested, then intercepted. Protect yourself by destroying any mail that is questionable to attract identity thieves.

To find out more about recycling and document destruction visit

1 comment:

  1. If direct mail marketing material was more relevant and contained enticing offers; less of the paper would end up in landfills. Mailings with coupons or discounts are valuable to people, who like to hold on to the coupon until they need the product or service, therefore, there will always be people who prefer direct mail marketing.

    Porter Sommers @ Plumb Marketing