Direct Mail Takes a Stab at Going Green

By Matt Van Hoven 

As annoying as direct mail can be, it actually works pretty well. According to the United States Postal Service Web site, for every dollar invested in DM, $12 are earned. So making any changes to the platform in the name of the environment will be slow to come.

But a group of like-minded businesses have formed the Green Marketing Coalition. The group aims to reduce waste created by DM through simple guidelines, like employing chlorine-free recycled paper, checking proofs via PDF rather than comps and tax breaks.

From The New York Times: “The guidelines suggest adhering to higher waste disposal standards and choosing vendors that are committed to recycling. There is also support for ‘list hygiene’ &#151 that is, cleaning out direct-mail lists to remove the names of dead people and others unlikely to respond.”

More after the jump.

The coalition was formed by direct marketer Hacker Group, a Seattle based company. They, along with Microsoft, Washington Mutual, OptimaHealth, Kawasaki and others seem determined to appear green at a time when eco-friendliness is the new black.

Real environmentalists say the coalition is a bit soft when it comes to setting goals, but concede that it’s better than nothing.

Again, from NYT: “‘It’s hard to argue against any well-intentioned effort to use more recycled paper, but the idea of greening junk mail is still a bit like putting lipstick on a pig,’ said Todd J. Paglia, executive director of ForestEthics, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting forests.”

According to the USPS, only 2.4 percent of landfill waste is caused by direct marketing. Not kidding, they actually said “only.”

See the full NYT story here and 5 Blogs Before Lunch‘s coverage of the same, here.