Standard bulk mail turns rain forests into landfill

The other day, I stopped by the mail room at my apartment complex, and I noticed that I didn’t have any standard bulk mail in my box. I was happy to get only mail that had been addressed to me. The usual junk was neatly stacked in these white bins:

Bulk Mail

Your tax dollars at work transforming rain forests into landfill.

The mailman must have been lazy that day, though I don’t blame him. Had he stuffed these papers into our boxes, nearly everyone would have dropped them into the white bins anyway, without a moment’s hesitation.

It’s nearly the physical equivalent of spam, and yet we’re paying for it! There have been a number of articles criticizing the US Postal Service (USPS) of costing taxpayers billions of dollars each fiscal quarter. The USPS is a government service that performs many useful functions, so operating at a loss is not necessarily a problem. But why, oh why, should we as taxpayers subsidize this particular kind of postal service?

Some people would like to blame the marketing companies that create this junk. Yet, in a free society, inspecting mail and judging the value of its content is a non-starter. Nobody can say that we are all better off with coupons or without coupons.

What we can do is stop subsidizing standard bulk mail! This would not stop mass-mailings, but it would reduce them. Marketing companies would think twice about sending full-priced, individually-addressed letters. The volume of mail would go down, and the price per piece would go up, which might be good for USPS finances.

But it’s not just about money. Above all, we should stop subsidizing standard bulk mail because it would have a positive impact on conserving the world’s rain forests. These beautiful forests are the home of many diverse animal species. They consume carbon dioxide and create oxygen. Have you ever received a piece of standard bulk mail that you wouldn’t trade for a breath of fresh air?


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