The Guide To America's Mailstream
catalogs : Postal2020.com
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All Posts Tagged With: "catalogs"

Mail, AARP & 53 Million Trees

Mail, AARP & 53 Million TreesAccording to the AARP Bulletin, “the 19 billion catalogs mailed to Americans every year consume 3.6 million tons of paper and 53 million trees.” (See May 2008, Page 25)

Such a short sentence. Can it be true?

Let’s see, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, advertising mail (also known as “Standard A” mail) totals 5.89 million tons before recycling. However, 2.28 million tons are recycled, a recovery rate of 38.7%. (See: 2006 MSW Characterization Data Tables, EPA, table 4).

So, if we subtract 2.28 million tons from 5.89 million tons we get 3.61 million tons of advertising mail.

Does this mean that 3.6 million tons of material was made from trees? Nope. Not hardly. Much of what goes through the mailstream comes from recycled materials.

Not only that, but not all advertising mail consists of “catalogs.” According to the U.S. Postal Service, Standard A mail includes printed matter, flyers, circulars and advertising; newsletters, bulletins and catalogs; and small packages.

But let’s say there are 19 billion catalogs. How much ad mail is sent out each year?

According to the 2007 annual report of the U.S. Postal Service and there we can see that 103.5 billion pieces of ad mail went through the mailstream.

Nineteen billion items sure seems like a small part of 103.5 billion items, which means that it’s not possible for 19 billion catalogs to use 3.6 million tons of paper unless flyers, circulars, newspapers and such suddenly weigh nothing.

Now, about those trees:

If we have 3.6 million tons of ad mail, and if each ton weighs 2,000 pounds, that would mean we have 7,200,000,000 pounds of material. If it takes 53 million trees to make 7.2 billion pounds of paper then an average “tree” weighs just 135.84 pounds!

Does this make sense to anyone?

According to AARP’s 2005 IRS Form 990, the association spent $108.3 million on “printing and shipping.”

AARP says that its “more than 36 million members receive ‘AARP The Magazine,’ which is published every other month (bimonthly)” and that “all members also receive 11 issues of ‘AARP Bulletin,’ a monthly publication (July and August are combined).”

That’s six magazines per year x 36,000,000 or 216,000,000 million magazines annually plus 11 bulletins per year x 36,000,000 or 396,000,000 bulletins — a total of 612,000,000 paper-based items sent through the mailstream per year.

Surely if AARP is worried about teeny micro trees it could shut off its own distribution torrent and rebate $100 million or so to its members. Otherwise it ought to explain why using the mail is okay for AARP — but not okay for others. It should also explain what will happen to stamp prices if advertisers leave the mailstream.

Most importantly, if mail volume is reduced AARP should explain what will happen to the jobs inside our borders that are anchored by the mailstream. As The Washington Post has explained:

“The Postal Service has about 738,000 employees, relies on revenue from operations rather than taxpayer funding and is one of few federal bureaucracies with which most Americans have regular contact. It is at the center of a $900 billion mailing industry, which employs 9 million people in such businesses as direct mail, paper manufacturers and printers.”

It Means Too Much To Be Called “Junk”

It Means Too Much To Be Called “Junk”Advertising mail gets a bum rap, especially from those who call it “junk mail.”

“Junk” suggests that advertising mail benefits no one, that it is useless and without worth. But the truth is that advertising mail provides important values. It fuels economic growth by generating sales. It provides jobs for people in every state. It’s vital to charitable, educational, consumer, ecological, political and medical causes nationwide. It brings coupons and catalogs to millions of Americans each day, including the elderly, the rural and the disabled.

Advertising mail supports our universal mail delivery system by lowering the cost of postal services. In fact, without advertising mail, the price of a first-class letter would soar.

Why? The Postal Service has fixed costs for people and facilities. Advertising mail represents about half of all mail volume. Take away advertising mail and to keep universal postal deliveries nationwide, six days a week, you still need most of the postal facilities and people now on the payroll. Fewer users sharing largely the same fixed costs means only one thing — vastly higher rates for the postal patrons who remain.

Don’t let anybody fool you. Advertising mail is many things. But it’s not “junk.”

Mail. The Medium that Delivers.

© 2008 Postal2020.com, All Rights Reserved.

Every Day Can Be Special When You Shop By Mail

Every Day Can Be Special When You Shop By MailFather’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas, a birthday, a graduation, a promotion, a new job, Valentine’s Day, an anniversary — there’s a lot to celebrate, something important almost every month.

And being in the holiday spirit — no matter which holiday is at hand — means having the right gift at the right time.

Little wonder that when it comes to special days, more and more Americans avoid the hassle of traffic, mall prices, and limited store hours to shop the easy way. By catalog.

More than 10,000 catalogs bring a world of goods and services to your front door. Clothes, furniture, electronics, books, jewelry, gift items, tools — you name it, and there’s a catalog that’s got it.

For more than 100 years mail-order catalogs have been the consumer’s best friend, an American tradition that means selection, value, and low prices. And today, when time is precious, catalogs allow consumers to shop at home, pay at home, and get delivery at home.

So the next time one of those special days is on the horizon, be prepared. Sit down, put your feet up, order by catalog. And let the world come to you.

Mail. The Medium that Delivers.

© 2008 Postal2020.com, All Rights Reserved.