Every address in the country received an average of 674 pieces of bulk-rate mail in 1992. That adds up to 62 billion pieces of junk mail delivered annually, which would fill Manhattan's twin 110-story World Trade Center towers three times over each year.
Not that direct mail isn't a legitimate enterprise, admits Good Advice Press, a homegrown book and newsletter publisher, which itself uses the mail to market. It's that such statistics -- compiled by Good Advice from U.S. Postal Service third-class-mailing records -- indicate that aspects of the industry are out of hand, taxing not only the environment but also hapless citizenry. In 1991 the disposal of all those pieces cost taxpayers more than $275 million, even though recipients didn't ask for most of them.
In an unassuming 15-page pamphlet ambitiously titled "Stop Junk Mail Forever," Good Advice deplores both the shotgun-mailing techniques of direct mailers (environmental organizations are held as blameworthy as any, "because they support themselves just like the other mailbox fishermen do") and the privacy-invading dispensation of personal and business particulars to direct mailers by such institutions as credit bureaus, voter registrars, motor-vehicle bureaus, and even the U.S. Postal Service itself.
Giving the junk-mail senders and their sources a dose of their own medicine, the booklet supplies the addresses and phone numbers of trade organizations, list brokers, public agencies, and other groups that, on request, promise -- or promise to try -- to delete your name from the lists of bothersome mailers and telemarketers while preserving continued delivery of welcome material.
The $2 booklet is from Good Advice Press, Box 78, Eliza-ville, NY 12523. -- Robert A. Mamis