Junk mail results in excess carbon dioxide, loss of natural habitat, and loss of plant and animal life leading to possible extinction through production, packaging, shipping and using these products or services. Except for CO2 emissions, estimates are based on Habitat,_Life,_Extinction_Formulas_v2 via ecofx.org. Estimates do not include the possible long-term ecological effects of climate change and persistent toxins. Formulas use human appropriated net primary production (HANPP) to CO2 emissions correlation.
CO2 estimate derived from 41pounds.org estimates that the average US citizen receives 41 pounds of junk mail per year. It also estimates it can reduce an average person's junk mail by 80%-95% and carbon emissions by 92 pounds per year. This means that 41 pounds of junk mail has a carbon footprint of approximately 105 pounds. This estimate was confirmed using the papercalculator.org -- assuming that junk mail is 50% recycled and is composed primarily of supercalendared paper. 41 pounds of junk mail also creates about 274 gallons of waste water, consumes 5 million BTUs and creates 316 pounds solid waste.
|Some of the materials used to make 41 pounds of junk mail:||trees, water, ink, plastic, multiple fuels|
|CO2 released to produce, mail, and dispose of 41 pounds of junk mail:||47.6 kilograms or 105 pounds|
|Loss of natural habitat potential for one year to produce, mail and dispose of 41 pounds of junk mail:||36.6 m2 or 396 ft2|
|Loss of natural and animal life potential for one year (in natural habitat) to produce, mail and dispose of 41 pounds of junk mail:||114.2 kilograms or 251 pounds|
|How many pounds of junk mail it takes to trigger one potential species extinction:||168 million|
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A large percentage of junk mail is not read by anyone. http://web.archive.org/web/20070212004906/http://www.coopamerica.org:80/PDF/WhitePaperMagazines.pdf
Globally, paper production and disposal releases three times as much climate change emissions as global aviation. Irresponsible production causes negative impacts on biodiversity and communities as well as human rights abuses in many pulp and paper producing region http://web.archive.org/web/20181207152158/http://www.shrinkpaper.org:80/
Meanwhile, every four months, an area the size of Rocky Mountain National Park is leveled in order to produce the 100 million trees worth of junk mail that invades the mailboxes of millions of Americans each year. This production and disposal of junk mail consumes more energy than 2.8 million cars and costs citizens and local governments hundreds of millions of dollars per year in collection and disposal fees. http://web.archive.org/web/20090418020713/http://www.emagazine.com:80/view/?3436
From 41pounds.org: "Why we’re here: We started 41pounds.org because we were continually overwhelmed with unwanted and wasteful junk mail — and we found out some staggering statistics that really bothered us about how costly junk mail is to our communities and the planet. To produce and process 4 million tons of junk mail a year, 100 million trees are destroyed and 28 billion gallons of water is wasted. And, global warming gases equivalent to 9 million cars are produced. In addition, $320 million of local taxes are spent to dispose of junk mail each year instead of providing parks, libraries, health care and other valuable services. Lastly, we found out that the credit card applications and other junk mail we receive may be used in identity theft and fraud.
"We realized that the bulk mailing companies have conditioned us to accept 5 to10 pieces of junk mail a day, but we could change that. So, we created a simple, affordable service that dramatically reduces the amount of junk mail that comes to our homes every day. From the start, we were excited that this service would enable thousands and thousands of people to save time, save money and help the environment — but we wanted to do more. We set up 41pounds.org as a fundraising program to raise money for community and environmental organizations that are working every day to make a difference."