Re: greenyes-d Digest V00 #206

From: Melissa Bernardin (
Date: Wed Jul 12 2000 - 22:49:51 EDT

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    Re: Applehoff/Guttentag Junk Mail discussion

    Amen to the legislative question! How can junk mail forced on us be deemed
    illegal? How can we encourage the USPS to adopt an opt-in policy? They must
    consider the financial, quality of life, and environmental implications of
    junk mail. For example:
    --I make every effort to reduce my impact on the planet, yet I have to drive
    more frequently to the town drop-off recyling center to recycle the unwanted
    circulars to the 3 (count them!) local supermarkets that I receive
    UNSOLICITED weekly in the mail [I was told recently that I can get off this
    mailing list if I write to the address on the little white missing persons
    slip, which is the originator of the advertising packet--have yet to do
    this--will see how it works]
    --what about towns adopting Pay as You Throw programs that don't provide
    mixed paper recycling? If I had to PAY to throw away someone's junk mail
    that the USPS forces on me, I'd be pretty angry!
    --currently the nonprofit recycling coalition I work for (that operates on a
    shoestring budget) receives great quantities of junk mail, despite my best
    effort to prevent it. It would take me over an hour a day to track down who
    is sending all of it. ANd of course to set a good example in our office
    building, we HAVE to setting all that paper out on the
    curb...thus, WE HAVE TO PAY for the mixed paper to be taken away!!!
    we're getting into issues of can we charge the generators for
    To conclude, I'd like to say that the idea that Ctr for a New American Dream
    might pick up this topic is a good suggestion. Anyone from there on this
    After having just read the Newspaper section of the book "Stuff: the Secret
    LIves of Everyday Things" (Ryan/Durning, Northwest Environment Watch,
    c.1997), detailing the origin of the virgin fiber percentage of kraft and
    newspaper, you realize what an environmental travesty junk mail truly is.
    In summary, sign me up for the petition to whoever its best addressed
    calling for a national junk mail "opt-in" legislative effort. And if that's
    not the next step, I'd be happy to help disseminate information to consumers
    and businesses empowering them to "Send it Back!" or otherwise refuse
    unwanted earth-plundering junk mail.
    -Melissa Bernardin
    Boston, Massachusetts

    [Guttentag wrote: Mary's suggestion regarding who you can contact about
    getting your name removed from mailing lists is helpful but, within the
    current legal environment, I feel it is an almost futile strategy. Trying
    to get your name removed from direct marketing databases is like fighting
    the mythical Hydra....This problem will persist as long as the current
    system provides>only "opt-out" options for individuals. This situation
    exists because direct marketing companies operate under the legal
    presumption that they have the right to send you unsolicited offers through
    the mail. You can refuse these offers, of course, but a waste of material
    resources occurs as a result. ... if every ounce of material from direct
    mailings is recycled, it's still>a waste of resources if you never wanted
    the mailing in the first place..>The only sustainable solution to the
    problem of unwanted soliticitations>of any kind, snail mail, e-mail, etc.,
    is for our legal system to =>recognize that you own your name and you have
    the right to determine how =it is used or who could use it. This would
    change the rules of direct>marketing to consumers from an "opt-out" model to
    an "opt-in" model;that is, I am legally protected from receiving unwanted
    direct marketing =
    >solicitations unless I choose (by opting-in)... ***I would be =
    >really interested in knowing if opt-in solutions have been
    >legislatively>proposed or if there are any organizations that are seriously
    >advocating >opt-in direct marketing policies.*** We should know about
    >these, and,>support those that make sense.
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