Firms sending unsolicited advertising mail are being urged to use only recyclable materials under a new Government initiative.
Environment secretary Caroline Spelman has forged a three-year agreement with the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), which will put in place initiatives to contribute to the Government’s zero-waste plans.
Companies are being asked to produce all direct mail from recyclable paper that has originated from a certified sustainable source or made from recycled paper.
The DMA will develop a carbon calculator for paper direct marketing material by the end of 2013 so that businesses can see the carbon footprint of the direct mail they produce and deliver, and take steps to lower it.
A free website will be set up by Defra and the DMA in April to allow householders to opt out of receiving unsolicited mail. Currently they have to register on three separate websites or apply by post. This is will cut the amount of unwanted direct mail by a quarter by 2014, it is estimated.
Spelman said: “I struck this deal with the DMA to give people more control over what gets posted through their letterbox, but also to make sure the direct mail we do find useful is produced to higher standards and is fully recyclable.”
DMA executive director Chris Combemale said: “Unwanted mail is an annoyance and an unnecessary cost to business. By cutting this out, we will also be helping to improve the environmental performance of the industry.”
According to Defra, the average household receives more than 300 items of unaddressed mail and 77 items of addressed mail a year. Around 380,000 tonnes of direct marking material were produced in 2009, of which almost 80% was recycled.
The deal is part of the Government’s commitments in its waste review announced in June.