One Year In American Junk Mail

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One Year In American Junk Mail
Graphic: © herbs-info.com. Images source – Pixabay (PD).

Did you know that the average American spends nearly 1 year of his/her life sorting through junk mail? [1] We are all familiar with the annoying feeling of dealing with coupon packets, credit card offers, subscriptions you don’t remember, and other forms of junk mail. It now turns out that those unwelcome letters in your mailbox have a negative ecological impact.

Horrifying Statistics on American Junk Mail

According to statistics from the New York University School of Law, the average American household receives 848 pieces (roughly 41 pounds) of junk mail in a year. [2] This translates to 100 billion pieces of junk mail nationwide – of which 44% is trashed unopened.

The unfortunate part about this statistic is that around 100 million trees are taken down to create that much paper. To put this into perspective, you’d have to cut down every tree on Rocky Mountain National Park thrice every year. Even worse, junk mail manufacturing is responsible for 51 million tons of greenhouse gases – the equivalent of emissions from 3.7 million cars.

Sure, some might argue that the paper is recycled and the trees are grown sustainably – but that’s not the whole story. A large number of wild trees are chopped down to meet the demand for paper. And according to a NASA-funded study, the production of pulpwood has the highest carbon footprint of all wood products. [3]

So, what’s the way forward? Two words: Proactive Action! To facilitate a sustainable society, the change should start at the individual level. Start by opting out of those unnecessary subscriptions and supporting recycling efforts.

References:

[1] Frequently Asked Questions about Junk Mail https://www.ecocycle.org/junkmail/faqs.

[2] NYU School Of Law http://www.law.nyu.edu/about/sustainability/whatyoucando/junkmail.

[3] Attribution of net carbon change by disturbance type across forest lands of the conterminous United States https://cbmjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13021-016-0066-5.

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One Year In American Junk Mail
Graphic ©herbs-info.com. Images source – Pixabay (PD).

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