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Resident shares frustration with photo of absurd junk mail received: 'I find it infuriating'

Junk mail is an extremely wasteful practice.

Junk mail is an extremely wasteful practice.

Photo Credit: iStock

As the cost of postal service has stayed low, companies have taken full advantage of it to send ads and offers to every homeowner and tenant they can reach. That has resulted in a lot more frustration and wasted paper than sales, and the term "junk mail" has been cemented in the public consciousness.

Many people have tried to increase awareness about the impact of this trend, but companies continue to do it — even ones that know they shouldn't.

What happened?

A Reddit user who received a particularly frustrating piece of junk mail shared their experience on the complaint subreddit r/mildlyinfuriating. "Please recycle junk mail nobody asked for!" they complained.

Junk mail is an extremely wasteful practice.
Photo Credit: Reddit

Their comment was in reference to the message printed on the envelope in the photo, which says "Please recycle" with a small recycling logo.

This Redditor is far from the only one grappling with a junk mail problem.

"I find it infuriating I still get religious pamphlets," one commenter said. "Junk mail is also anything not personally addressed with my name on it."

Why does it matter if companies ask recipients to recycle junk mail?

Junk mail is an extremely wasteful practice. It's an unnecessary expense for the business, which has to pay for the materials and labor to create and send all those letters. It also raises costs for anyone who does buy their services, since businesses pass on their costs to consumers.

Meanwhile, wasting paper is bad for the environment. All the wood, energy, and even water that goes into making paper products contribute to an enormous investment of resources, and we could cut back on the waste tremendously if businesses would stop.

And what's worse is that they clearly know it — but instead of taking responsibility, they want to pass the buck to the average person by just printing a recycling reminder on the envelope.

What could this company do instead?

A single ad online or in a public place could reach as many people as hundreds or even thousands of mailers while generating far less trash. Companies can also create opt-in systems wherein interested people can sign up to receive their offers, instead of just sending them to everyone they can.

What can I do to reduce paper waste?

One TikToker showed the internet an easy and cheap way to dramatically reduce the amount of junk mail you receive.

When it comes to companies you actually want to do business with, many of them offer paperless options these days, so make sure you're signed up to get your updates electronically instead of by mail.

Finally, try to support businesses with eco-friendly policies — including ones cutting down on their paper use.

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