Re: [GRRN] Junk Mail: A Modest Proposal

From: Mike Morrow (
Date: Mon Jul 17 2000 - 13:56:00 EDT

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    Over ten years ago the US Postal Service decided to wipe out its red ink by
    modernizing its operations. In most cases the reading and sorting of mail
    is now automated greatly reducing labor costs. It also expanded its line of
    products, taking advantage of its monopoly, to generate more revenue. These
    bulk mailing services are actively marketed by regional representatives and
    the proof of their success is in our mailbox every day. I

    t's illegal for a mail carrier to divert mail (to the recycle bin) even
    though a patron specifically states that they don't want the junk.

    It seems a slim possibility that the USPS is going to increase its mail
    rates to reduce the amount of paper flowing through its system. In fact I
    think they take a contrary view. The more the better!

    Changing this system will literally take an act of congress.


    -----Original Message-----
    From: Lacaze, Skip <>
    To: '' <>
    Date: Thursday, July 13, 2000 4:04 PM
    Subject: [GRRN] Junk Mail: A Modest Proposal

    >The US Postal Service maintains an online database that allows one to look
    >up the ZIP+4 code for any U.S. mailing address. It uses address ranges
    >instead of exact street addresses.
    >They have other products that are used for mailers to verify addresses, in
    >order to clean up their mailing lists and avoid wasting postage (and paper)
    >sending stuff to non-existent addresses. It seems to me that the USPS is
    >the only agency that is in a position to effect a reduction in direct mail
    >abuse. If mail recipients could easily opt out by notifying the USPS, who
    >could then identify such addresses as non-deliverable for unsolicited
    >commercial mail, or, at least, for unsolicited commercial bulk mail, then
    >mailers could be required to use such information to delete those addresses
    >from their mailing lists, subject to loss of mailing discounts, at least,
    >to serious penalties. The system could be broadened to obligate all
    >mass-mailers and spammers to use the service, on a cost-recovery basis.
    >The ZIP+4 system has over 30 million records. A database with every
    >deliverable address in the U.S. would only be about 10 times as large, and
    >it would lots of additional uses that would justify the effort and allow
    >the cost to be recovered.
    >I would be concerned about losing the ability to use direct mail for
    >Californians Against Waste fund raising, and doubt that direct mail could
    >completely forbidden. However, it could be required to pay the basic first
    >class rate if it is not screened against the reject list.
    >Skip Lacaze
    >Civic Services Manager
    >Integrated Waste Management Division
    >Environmental Services Department
    >777 N 1st Street, Suite 300
    >San Jose, CA 95112
    >voice: 408/277-3994
    >fax: 408/277-3669
    >100% San Jose. Recycle where you Live, Work and Play
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