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The Issues

Corporate mailers stuff American mailboxes with more than 1 billion pieces of mail each year.1 In fact, junk mail in the United States accounts for nearly 30% of all the mail delivered in the world.2

But junk mail does more than simply invade our homes and waste our time. Junk mail also puts us at risk of identity theft, contributes to climate change, and creates more waste for landfills.

We need some common sense solutions: let’s take back our mailboxes and change the way these direct mail companies do business.

Junk is annoying, wasteful and invades our privacy

  • Junk mail in the U.S. accounts for over 100,000,000,000 pieces of mail each year3—about 30% of all the mail delivered in the world4
  • Each year American households receive a total of 104.7 billion pieces of junk mail5 or 848 pieces of junk mail per household6, requiring 6.5 million tons of paper7
  • The average American will spend 8 months of their lives dealing with junk mail8
  • Entire households only average 1 personal correspondence each week, compared to almost 18 pieces of junk mail9
  • In 2005 the United States Postal Service processed more junk mail than First Class Mail for the first time, and our postal service is increasingly oriented toward the delivery of unwanted junk mail10
  • Since 1991, national polls have consistently shown that between 80 to 90% of respondents dislike junk mail and would take some action to reduce it if they could
  • State and local governments and their citizens spend hundreds of millions of dollars per year to collect and dispose of all the bulk mail that does not get recycled.
  • 6.5 million tons of junk mail entered the U.S. municipal solid waste stream in 200611
  • A response rate of less than 0.25% is considered acceptable for the 500 million U.S. credit card solicitations that are mailed monthly12


1United States Postal Service (USPS). "The Household Diary Study: Mail Use & Attitudes in FY2006." March, 2007, pp. 1.
2Ibid, USPS. March, 2007, calculation from pp. 1 & 3.
3Ibid, USPS. March, 2007, pp. 1.
4Ibid, USPS. March, 2007, calculation from pp. 1 & 3.
5Ibid, USPS. March, 2007, pp. 1.
6Ibid, USPS. March, 2007, calculation from pp. 7 and pp. 36.
7Abramovitz, Janet. “Junk Mail Research—Report of Initial Findings.” May 24, 2006. Data sources include: USPS Annual Reports, USPS Household Diary Studies, USPS Strategic Transformation Plan, Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Statistical Factbook (various years), DMA Response Rate Report (various years), DMA Economic Impact Report (various years).
8Swenson, Richard. Margins: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Americans. Navpress Publishing Group.  March 1995.
9Ibid, USPS. March 2007, pp 20 & 37.
10Ibid, Abramovitz.
11United States Environmental Protection Agency Municipal Solid Waste Report 2006 http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/muncpl/pubs/06data.pdf.
12DM news:” Direct mail faces year of reckoning” http://www.dmnews.com/cms/dm-news/print-production/39619.html.