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Resident raises questions after receiving over 40 identical letters in mail: 'All arriving on the same day'

"I can hear the tree spirits' screams of anguish through the screen."

"I can hear the tree spirits' screams of anguish through the screen."

Photo Credit: iStock

Plastic waste gets a lot of attention because it's highly polluting and takes so long to break down. However, excessive paper use is a problem, too, because of the resources spent and the pollution generated to manufacture and ship all those documents. 

One Redditor shared a particularly ridiculous example of out-of-control paper waste.

What happened?

In a recent post on r/mildlyinfuriating, the original poster complained about a baffling move by their local post office. "The postal service sent my wife 44 identical letters, all arriving on the same day," they claimed.

Attached to the post was a photo of a thick stack of letters being held in the photographer's hand, all the same size and apparently identical. The label on the corner of the top letter reveals that they originated in Sweden.

"I can hear the tree spirits' screams of anguish through the screen."
Photo Credit: Reddit

According to the Redditor, the letters all said the same thing: that "there was a package at the postal office that required pickup. A package that was already delivered to our mailbox last week. So there is no package needing pickup!"

"Wow that's insane," said one user.

"I can hear the tree spirits' screams of anguish through the screen," commented another.

Why do the duplicate letters matter?

As more and more business takes place online, most communication and data storage don't need to use paper at all. That's good, because manufacturing paper products means cutting down trees, takes a lot of energy and water, and releases a lot of pollution. 

The less paper we use, the more we can cut back on all that environmental damage, so it's frustrating to see companies print a message when they could send an email or text.

What's even worse, though, is seeing the same message 44 times. Even if one letter would have been useful, the other 43 were a complete waste — likely caused by a computer error.

"Back in the day, this kind of s*** used to happen a lot between PCs and printers," one commenter remarked.

What is Sweden doing about this waste of paper?

One piece of silver lining is Sweden's response to all kinds of paper waste. The country has a robust recycling program, with 80% of paper packaging, 95% of newspapers, and 77% of graphic paper being recycled, according to Swedish Forest Industries

That means less material going to landfills, and more recycled material available to manufacturers, reducing the need to cut trees for new paper.

The U.S. Postal Service has its own recycling program, which handles 290,000 tons of paper and other materials each year. It also works to make its own packaging easier to recycle, and to manufacture it from recycled material.

What can I do to cut back on paper waste?

You can't prevent the post office or companies from sending you mail in error. 

However, you can notify them that you don't want junkmail, which is a much more common form of paper waste. Websites like DMAchoice, OptOutPrescreen.com, and CatalogChoice.org will help you unsubscribe from receiving unwanted letters and catalogs.

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

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