Is this the end of junk mail?

Filed in Blog by on November 7, 2011 8 Comments
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Are DEFRA putting an end to junk mail?

Are DEFRA putting an end to junk mail?

It must be getting closer to THAT time of year.

You know the one.

The one beginning with “C”?

I notice this because of the amount of rubbish coming through my letterbox in the form of junk mail.

I’m promised the most joyous of festive seasons as long as I buy the latest gadget, gizmo or even bottle of wine…

I have flyers galore coming into zero waste towers advertising toys, decorations and even those ‘must have’ items such as plastic angels to put in the middle of my dining table.

Fortunately DEFRA have everything in hand. It seems our friends at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have had enough of junk mail too. So they’ve pledged to set up a free-to-use website next April where everyone can opt-out of receiving all types of advertising mail.

This will replace the current system, where households have to register on three separate services – the Mailing Preference Service, the Your Choice Preference System and Royal Mail’s Door-to-Door opt-out service.

Meanwhile, our grassroots friend, Robert over at Junk Buster has been offering the same service for the past few years…

It’s a step in the right direction from DEFRA, but not the full story. For example, the majority of trash I’ve received through my letter box has been unaddressed leaflets from the postman, and as far as I’m aware, there is no way to stop these.

What do you think about the story? Are you worried that postal prices will increase if junk mail decreases? Do you feel guilty that some people in the postal service might find themselves without a job?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (8)

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  1. Poppy 2 says:

    It should be good news, but I’m not so sure. I seemed to have killed off most of the postal junk that comes through our door, the most problematic remainder is hand delivered items. Even though I have a notice on my door specifically saying “No Pizza Leaflets”, it seems that some of the deliverers can’t read. ( few and far between though 🙂 )

    The other one is the local gym, who commit the double sin of partially delievering to me. Half in the door, half hanging out on the street as a notice to any chancers, that we may not be in if they want to pop in and ransack the place!

    Not sure the posties would be that affected either as their bosses have made the ridiculous backward decision to ditch the bikes. I’m sure this works fine in inner town and city areas, but the extra time taken to get between drops in the less urban and rural areas, must surely be counter productive.

  2. Jane says:

    I hate half-delivered mail and the unaddressed stuff the postman brings. I lost confidence in the Post Office/Royal Mail and I’m afraid I don’t see how I can support them with my custom unless they can provide a service that I can have confidence in. It’s sad because it used to work for me, Please no more corporate re-branding.

  3. Out here in the rural Midwest US..the postmen assure me that they would be out of a job if junk mail ceased to exist.–yes i do feel a twinge of guilt for hoping that undesired junk stop being printed for naught…

    the only hope is that the Postal Service modernizes its delivery and branches out in other useful communications, packaging etc..

    i try to calculate the actual mileage and true cost of pulp to manual labor, machine maintenance and all the oil and chemicals added before i burn the gaudy pieces of shiny junk in the driveway to keep weeds at bay…the math is horrid = it amounts to much more than it is worth to consumers and workers alike.

  4. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy 2: yes, I remember you mentioning the problem with hand delivered leaflets before. We get very few of those, being in a village, but our local free paper seems to come stuffed with reams of them

    @Jane: what are the alternatives? Apart from using couriers for large items what can you do with regular post?

    @nadine sellers: The maths must be pretty terrifying, not to mention the waste of resources; it seems such a shame things are funded this way…

  5. Jane says:

    @Jane: Parcels delivered by hand or direct from supplier; emails; ecards; paying bills online or by direct debit/standing order or at a shop with the PayPoint sign. I always look for alternatives now. After all we had to when they were on strike. There is nothing nicer than a proper letter or card in the post but be realistic nobody writes as much and most of the post was bills or unsolicited stuff (however hard you try and avoid that). The elderly who are not online suffer. They love to look and re-look at cards and letters and photos (if they can see them). When did you last visit your relations? Why not organise a visit to take them out to lunch – that may be even better!

  6. Mrs Green says:

    @Jane: Paypoint is something I know nothing about – I need to look into it. Thanks for sharing your ideas…

  7. Jane says:

    @Mrs Green: The trouble is I really like having a postie that I know. Someone who can find your house from a weird description instead of an address but so much of it hast has become so impersonal now.

  8. Mrs Green says:

    @Jane: Well we still have that (a postie that actually knows us) and it can be a mixed blessing. With our story in the papers, weirdos have been able to track where we live too – hence the 6 bags of rubbish once dumped on our drive and the odd piece of hate snail mail addressed to our website, my surname and village name !!

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