DoNotMail.gov

The national Do Not Call registry is five years old. Is it time for a national Do Not Junk Mail list?

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When you add up the true costs of junk mail —paper, printing, delivery, and disposal (44 percent winds up in landfills unopened)—you get 51.5 metric tons of greenhouse gases each year, the equivalent of 11 coal-fired plants or 9.4 million cars. But while there’s been a national Do Not Call registry since 2003, Congress has yet to do the same for paper solicitations. The USPS, in concert with the Direct Marketing Association, has successfully stalled efforts in at least 18 states to create Do Not Mail registries; Postmaster General John Potter has argued that “nothing is more targetable than the mail…And you don’t have to worry about filters.” The environmental group ForestEthics has launched an online petition (at DoNotMail.org) to push Congress to heed the majority of Americans (nearly 90 percent, according to a 2007 Zogby poll) who favor a registry; more than 64,000 have signed so far. For now, the junk-mail averse can remove their addresses from some lists via sites like GreenDimes.com—and by contacting individual credit card companies, magazines, and other businesses.

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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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