New website to end junk mail

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So you've got a 'no junk mail please' sign on your door, but still the flurry of unwanted post pours through the letter box.

Well soon a one-stop website will allow householders to end this tide of junk mail by banning Royal Mail from delivering unsolicited adverts and leaflets to your address.

The free-to-use website will be launched next year with the aim to simplify the current system, where householders have to visit three different sites in order to request an end to unsolicited mail.

Officials at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs say the scheme will target addressed and unaddressed items from credit card applications to catalogues. Companies will also be forced to keep lists of customers who have already opted out and leaflets will have to be made from recyclable, rather than plastic-coated paper.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said the website would be launched next April as part of a deal with the Direct Marketing Association, representing around 900 companies.

She said: 'We've all returned from holidays to be greeted by a mountain of unsolicited mail waiting behind the front door, most of which is thrown straight out. These piles of paper irritate householders, waste businesses' money and are environmentally unsustainable.

"This also throws down the gauntlet to those companies hand-delivering brochures and fast-food menus to respect 'no junk mail' signs and only deliver what people want."

But only 60% of junk mail will be covered as it does not include door-to-door leafleting by local businesses or takeaway menus.

Executive Director for the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Chris Combemale said: "We know that many types of advertising mail are welcomed by consumers, such as supermarket discount offers. Of course, untargeted and irrelevant advertising mail is not welcome. It's this we want to eliminate.

The three-year deal will see the industry undertake a number of initiatives to contribute to the government's plans to move towards a zero-waste economy. It is hoped the measure will reduce the amount of unwanted direct mail hitting doormats by 25% by 2014.
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