Can Junk Mail Go Green?

Junk mailboxMost everyone admits that minimizing junk mail would save a lot of trees, but because of the profits it generates, it isn't about to go away. So a group of direct marketers have teamed up with corporations like Microsoft, Washington Mutual and OptimaHealth to form a new coalition called the Green Marketing Coalition (GMC) to encourage greener practices in the direct mail industry. GMC suggests direct marketers use chlorine-free recycled paper, proof their marketing materials using Adobe PDF files instead of hard copies, and maintain good "list hygiene," or cull from mailing lists the names of people who are deceased or otherwise unlikely to respond. The U.S. Postal Service, which is endorsing the effort, has trademarked the term "environMAIList," and plans to use it to refer to marketers who adopt GMC's suggested green practices. But progress for the campaign could be tough to gauge; neither the Postal Service nor the Green Marketing Coalition have specified any quantifiable milestones or target dates by which they can measure the effectiveness of their effort.