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Controlling the junk mail dilemma

Published: 6:52PM Friday May 19, 2006 Source: One News

Letterboxes around the country will look a lot slimmer from Monday.
That's when a new code to control junk mail takes effect that means no more flyers, pamphlets or even the local rag if you don't want them. 

For some the sight holds the promise of a bargain, but for others a letterbox full with junk mail is an occupational hazard.

"We can't even put our letters in...most of the letterbox they have the mousetrap, and when the people put the  junkmail in there it is a nightmare to us," one postie says.

Direct marketers are taking steps to fix that, introducing guidelines for unsolicited mail - that is anything that doesn't have your name on it.

"To make sure that everyone who's delivering unaddressed mail respects that consumer's wishes," says Keith Norris, Marketing Association Chief Executive.

The worst junk mailers are real estate agents, followed by the warehouse brochures and then supermarket circulars.

"Paper represents about 204,000 tonnes of the waste stream.. about 20% roughly and junk mail would be quite a small proportion of that," says Warren Snow from Envision New Zealand.

Households that clearly state junk mail is not welcome will have the chance to dob in the offenders.

It all depends on the wording that's on your mailbox. For example a no circulars isn't going to stop you from getting junkmail and a no junkmail sign isn't going to stop you from getting unwanted pamphlets and brochures. What will cover it all is an addressed mail only and that'll axe even your local community newspaper

"You've picked on an anomaly there because the local council bylaws exclude suburban and community newspapers, but for most people they produce as much junk as anything else," Norris says.

The next step in cracking down on unwanted junk mail is training up the 6,000 people who deliver it.

Fines for breaking householders' wishes will be as high as $20,000.