Soon They’ll All Be Weeping Willows

Plain, white envelopes grace the inside of my mailbox on a nearly weekly basis.  These envelopes say nothing more than my address on the front, with the return address across the back flap, all in a very appealing (yet suspicious) font.  Perhaps it’s simply a gimmick – make the recipient “discover” that the envelope holds a pre-approved offer for a Discover card.  Eventually, however, the novelty wears off and such envelopes remain unopened, shredded to prevent any possible identity theft (or whatever crime is trendy at the moment).

And while money supposedly doesn’t grow on trees, these lovely, natural structures are responsible for creating that paper.  We are bombarded by junk mail on a daily basis, recycling some, but simply tossing the vast majority to the bottom of our trash cans.  “Going green” seems to be a great and increasing trend, yet companies (most notably that of the credit card variety) pile stacks of heavyweight paper into large envelopes just to annoy and harrass us with offers for services we would actively seek if we so desired.

Instead of sending back the credit card applications complete with the required information, I propose a revolution (despite the fact that it will most likely never catch on).  To show our disdain for not only the personal inconvenience, but the detriment it imposes on our environment as well, I suggest that we use the very paper we receive to send them our own message.  Each company provides an envelope for returnng your application, many of them postage paid if mailed within the United States.  Perhaps, if enough people sent these applications back completed with feelings of contempt and disapproval for what this excessive paper waste may do to our environment, maybe we could raise awareness and get these major companies to pride themselves on their “green” acts instead of their pursuit of green.

The weight of a single envelope feels as if they are mailing an entire tree, and if this real-life spamming of the mailbox continues across the nation, too much paper will be used to promote the use of plastic.  Uproot too many trees and we will destroy what holds our world together, literally and figuratively.  And maybe, even if they fail to understand the environmental ramifications of their mailings, the influx of junk in their mailbox just may be enough to convince them how annoying junk mail truly is.

(Photos by Anna Papachristos)

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