Group aims to clear the mailbox

By Jessica Kalin

DeKalb’s Citizen Environmental Commission has waged a war on junk mail. The commission began research on the amount of junk mail sent to homes eight months ago and now is creating a pamphlet to educate the public about what can be done to stop junk mail.

The pamphlet includes information on junk mail, a list of companies that generate the most junk mail and cards that can be sent to the companies to be removed from the mailing lists.

According to the commission, the average American receives 41 pounds of junk mail each year and 44 percent of that mail goes unread in the garbage.

Many people do not realize the average American is on up to 50 mailing lists, said Julia Fauci, chairwoman for the commission.

“Every time you fill out a check, join an organization or hand in a warranty card, [you could be on a new list]. The goal is to stop waste. Junk mail wastes trees and time and fills landfills,” she said.

Seventeen trees are used to create 1 ton of paper, and 5.2 million tons of catalogs and direct mailings go into the waste stream every day, according to the commission.

The committee is pushing to recycle the junk mail instead of throwing it away.

“Our main reason is conservation of natural resources. It’s not just that people are annoyed, but so many natural resources are decimated to create all this junk mail,” committee member Jim Grosklags said.

The commission would like to print the pamphlets on recycled paper and use a soy-based ink.

“It might cost more, but we support it,” committee member Cindy Warren-James said. It is possible the committee will use a Web site to replace the paper that would be used for the pamphlet.

The purpose of the pamphlet is to get people off of current lists and keep them off, Warren-James said.

“We are an environmental committee, and we advise what is best for our community,” she said.

Within six months of the companies receiving the cards, junk mail should stop.

“This isn’t like a shot in the dark,” Fauci said. “It can stop.”