Reverse Trash Streams: The Junk Mail Project

Los Angeles and Chicago
Curated and Organized by Nancy Spiller and Barbara Hashimoto

Junk Mail Facts

  • 100 million trees are cut down to produce junk mail annually.
  • The majority of junk mail is produced from natural forests.
  • In 2006, Americans received 77 billion pieces of junk mail.
  • In 2006, more than 15 million trees were cut down to produce the 1.8 billion pounds of undeliverable junk mail. (That’s above and beyond what was delivered)
  • 44% of the junk mail received goes unopened into the landfill.
  • 59 catalogs on average are sent annually to each man, woman, and child in the U.S.
  • Victoria’s Secret alone sends 395 million catalogs a year.
  • Junk mail uses more landfill space than disposable diapers and polystyrene foam products combined.
  • Each postal carrier hauls 18 tons of junk mail annually.
  • The average American will spend 8 months of their life handling junk mail.
  • The U.S. Postal Service prefers the term “bulk mail” to that of junk mail.
  • According to The U.S. Postal Service, “about half of us enjoy receiving bulk mail, one in 20 of us would like to receive more and 40 percent would like to receive less.”

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