Grass Roots Do Not Mail Campaign Threatens Direct Marketers

The Washington Post reports that the Center for a New American Dream is promoting October 1-7th as "Junk Mail Awareness Week". The principle behind the week is purported environmental concerns regarding direct mail, particularly catalogs. Through its grass roots campaigns and spurned on through the political success of the "do not call" lists, the organization has been urging a push to adopt "do not mail" registries with a rallying cry of "Declare Your Independence From Junk Mail". The organization urges by "ask[ing] Congress to create a national Do Not Junk registry modeled after the wildly successful Do Not Call registry"

Triggered by the concerns of its members that politicians will react without thinking of the other impacts a curtailing of direct mail may have, the Direct Marketing Association has opposed such registries. Noting this opposition, the Washington Post reported the DMA's claim that there is another side to the environmental impact of catalog mailings - ordering by mail reduced the number of cars headed to shopping malls. Moreover, according to the DMA direct mail accounts for only about 2% of the country's total municipal solid waste. Also, DMA pointed out, direct mail helps keep the Postal Service afloat.

It is critical that the DM industry take note to prevent this unnecessary legislation from moving forward. The fact is that practically everyone likes to get mail - and enjoy their mail moment. For those who do not want to get direct mail, the DMA offers a Direct Mail Preference Service. It costs $1 to register for the "Mail Preference Service." DMA members are required to scrub their lists against it prior to mailing. Industry has already established a workable alternative to more unnecessary legislation.

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