Spam spam spam spam

spam!(Title, with a nod to monty python)

I’m becoming more aware of spam, or junk mail, in it’s many and varied forms. Consider, we have junk e-mail, cold calling on telephones and junk mail through the letter box (and yes junk comments on blogs, grrrrr).

Today, the royal mail annouced it was going to increase the amount of ‘advertising’ mail we all received, in order to raise revenue. This got me thinking, why can’t I stop them?

I mean, for e-mail you can blacklist domains, and with a little effort, chase the originators IP and inform their ISP.

With the telephone, you can register with the telephone preference service (which is great when you mention ‘TPS’ to the cold caller, you should see how quick they hang up!). So why is it that the royal mail are allowed to delivery junk mail?

People goto great lengths to avoid junk e-mails (spam-cop, blacklists, disguising addresses, etc) and a lot of people are registered with the TPS to prevent cold calling.

At this point, another thought popped into my head was that my post used to arrive by around 9am, for last year or so, it’s rarely delivered by 1:30pm. So it’s obvious, at least to me, that the good old postie is over worked already. Giving him more mail to deliver is going to mean I probably won’t get post until 5pm and he’s going to get a bad back with the extra load. Perhaps I’m over stating the problem, but..

This led to another thought, maybe my memory is failing me but, aren’t we supposed to be trying to save the environment? Surely all this junk mail is a waste of resources? Sure I do my recyclcing bit – I get junk mail, I pop it in my ‘paper recycling’ bin, the council refuse people collect it and recycle it. Now multiply that by several million people and consider the waste and impact to the environment! wouldn’t it be better for the environment if we just stopped this ridiculous cycle?

So I did some digging and you can ‘opt out’ but there’s a catch (you knew there would be). It boils down to this, the royal mail have a legal duty to deliver mail that is addressed to you (or people at the house) or addressed to ‘the occupier’. Mail that is ‘un-addressed’ is delivered by royal mail at a charge to the companies whos leaflet you get.

Now you can ask, by phoning them, e-mailing them or filling in a form, to ‘opt out’ of this ‘service’. This will ensure that any ‘un-addressed’ mail is not delivered. The catch? Well, it is that you won’t receive mail from the government, notices from your council about changes in refuse collection and so on.
So you could miss out on some important information.

I’ve seen some great ‘schemes’ for getting back at the junk mail companies, returning the mail with ‘not known at this address return to sender’ (remember they pay for the return postage), sending it back using their pre-paid envelopes (again, they pay once the pre-paid enevelope is in the royal mail system).

But, by far the best, which a friend of mine used to do was to send it back, in their envelope along with a bill for £10, listing the fee as ‘labour’. 9 times out of 10, he never hears anything more, but every so often, he gets a cheque back, and promptly pays it in.
But, by far my biggest gripe about this whole junk mail (paper junk mail) is that we’re supposed to be trying to clean up our environment and be responsible. The RoHS and WEE legislations are all about this (removal of lead from electronics in case you were wondering). Add to this the european legislation about lowering greenhouse gas emissions and it ‘looks’ like we’re doing well.
But if you look close, are we really?

Here’s some usefull links ;-

Daily mail guide to de-junking’ your life (Very handy)
The Telephone Preference Service (do it, it’ll cut your cold calls to zero in a week!)
Mailing preference service (I only found this whilst reseraching ways to stop junk mail)

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