Should Snail Mail be Snail-ier??

Here’s a thought. Every day a little white truck cruises through my neighborhood and stuffs my mailbox full of catalogs I don’t order from, flyers I don’t read, credit card offers I don’t need, and coupons I don’t use. Every day I meander to the street, thumb through the pile checking to see if one of the handful of actually useful things I receive via mail every month are in there, and drop the rest into the shredder or recycle bin.

Minimally, this is a waste of my time. But there are days where the walk to the mailbox passes for all the exercise I get, so maybe that’s not a bad thing in the end. However, taken in the context of global warming and increased dependence on foreign oil, is it really a good use of fossil fuels to power this truck through my neighborhood daily? Honestly, I’d be fine if the mail were delivered every other day, or even once a week. Maybe they could use a special truck for priority mail which runs more like the UPS truck and comes when needed, but most of the crap I get would not be substantively less valuable if I had to wait several days in order to recycle it.

Now that I think of it, the garbage/recycle truck comes through my neighborhood once a week already. Maybe the Postal Service could contract with the village to deliver the weekly crap mail as it picks up the recycling. In fact, if they delivered the junk mail seconds before picking up the recycling, they could leave it in the recycle bin, which they would empty several seconds later into the same truck delivering the crap. But wait! Why waste that fuel? Why not deliver the junk mail directly to the recycling plant and cut out the delivery and pick-up trucks altogether? That would be cool.

Yet I suspect that the marketing geniuses that define their worth to their employers by telling them that there’s value in loading up my recycle bin would object to cutting out the middle man in this insidious dance. So maybe the real opportunity here would be to short circuit this process even further and simply recycling the marketing folks.

Mmmmm, Soylent Green. Yum.

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