How are you doing so far with your morning ritual, you foxy lady you?  It takes 21 days to form a new habit so don’t sweat it just yet if your hand falls off the hip from time to time.

Today’s challenge involves junk mail. High calorie, chemical filled, intellectually deficient junk mail.

It includes everything from the weekly I-don’t-need-any-of-this-junk flyers to the unsolicited personal important-time-critical-information-inside-but-really-just-trying-to sell-me-more-junk-I-don’t-need solicitations. Then there are the bills— the I-wish-it-were-junk-mail hangover from the junk mail open bar offers that took advantage of a momentary weakness. Sigh.

And who invited smelly newsprint, UV coated card stock, plastic wrapped, chemical infested mailbox crashers to my party anyway?  There are so many of them that my poor bills risk being tossed out along with the riffraff. Hmmm. Too bad Toronto Hydro keeps meticulous records.

I must admit that I hemmed and hawed about whether to write this post and I’m just squeaking it in under the wire. There doesn’t seem to be a potent enough garlic clove to eradicate this mailbox fungus (although I am sure Monsanto is working on one. Oh we’ll deal with them later. muahahaha). However, there are some partial fixes that are quick-ish that we can apply right now and then something that requires digging the heels in much much deeper.

But small steps first.

In my condo building of 32 units there is not one but TWO garbage bins for paper waste only beside the mailboxes. Apparently, there are so few people in our building who actually read their junk mail that we require double disposal facilities. It would be interesting to peruse the spy camera footage and edit a collage of my neighbours singing an “ode to the gods of direct marketing”, but that means I’d have to sing too and… Let’s just move on shall we?

So what are the advantages of prolonging the life of the junk mail industry?

Jobs, you say? Yes.

Even more jobs, you add? Granted. We are creating work in recycling, land filling, and incinerating.

Money-saving coupons, you proclaim? Meh. Only if you were actually planning on buying the slicing-dicing-slap-chopper-that-doubles-as-a-back-hair-trimmer in the first place.

Enlightened communications that will bring harmony and balance to your life, you suggest? I think not.

Now let’s list the disadvantages.

  • Wasted time mining for that love letter just in from Paris— an ancient paper torture method used to slice the mental focus of a Woman Not Waiting
  • Coniferous and deciduous genocide— it is part of the circle of life but gluttony is not
  • Pollution— cutting trees, “coureurs de bois” eating way too many beans, trucking logs, slicing and dicing, mulching, bleaching, creating paper maché, rolling, shipping, printing, mailing, etc…
  • Garbage— the non-recyclable or prohibitively expensive glossy coated postcard with the sexy after shot of what you would look like after a money back guarantee 3-month gym membership, the plastic pre-approved credit cards, the plastic wrapped free samples that will take 10 years of your skin
  • More pollution— transportation to the recycling centres and the recycling process itself

Surely there can’t be enough junk mail to have a measurable impact on the environment, right?

Well, according to a an article in the Washington Post from January 20th, 2008 the average American receives 41 pounds of junk mail per year. And according to Statistics Canada there were “1,989,705 private dwellings occupied by usual residents in Toronto in 2011” and construction is still booming here.

If we use these two stats in a simple calculation, we get a decent estimate of:

1,989,705 * 26 = approx. 51.7 MILLION pounds !!!

Let me repeat that.

51.7 MILLION pounds of junk mail! Do you see why we need the garlic clove from hell?

You didn’t ask for it, but you got it anyway, and now YOU have to deal with.

Roll that number up to all cities in North America and WOW!  Have your eyes been sucked into the computer yet? Have you fallen off the sidewalk into an open sewer? Have you dropped your gum on the head of the commuter sitting below you in the streetcar?

What’s a Woman Not Waiting to do? Putting up a quick “No Flyers” sign is a diversion tactic at best and only addresses non-directed junk mail.

So let’s hit the pavement. I invite you to strap on your heels and join me in the following junk mail hunt:

  • add a comment to this post saying “I’m In!”
  • save your junk mail for one month in a bin
  • contact the companies sending you direct mail to remove your name from their list
  • contact your local post office about the non-directed mail and what your options are
  • save your junk mail for month 2 in a separate bin
  • pick out the unresponsive direct mail offenders and register a complaint
  • save your junk mail for month 3 in a third bin
  • pick out the unresponsive direct mail offenders and broadcast your complaint (that will get their attention)
  • join me in a debriefing Google hangout so we can measure the positive impact we have made together

Are you in?  Do you have any other suggestions to share?