The devastation of junk mail - state by state.
State by state.
The scale of America’s junk mail problem is absolutely shocking. According to the New York Times, nearly half of all mail is junk. Not only does junk mail cost Americans $370 million annually, but junk mail also “destroys 100 million trees a year,” according to New York University’s law school.
According to their website, that is equivalent to deforesting Colorado’s entire Rocky Mountain National Park every four months – that’s 796,383 acres of park land every year!
Find your state.
About the numbers.
These estimates are based on New York University’s data, found here, which states that junk mail destroys 100 million trees per year or 796,383 acres of parkland with 125 trees per acre. Actual trees per acre and biomass per tree varies too greatly to account for in every individual stretch of park land – even official government sources often cannot tell how many trees there are per acre in individual parks. According to a US Forest Service report, a typical acre of dense New England forest without any other features contains about 200 trees per acre – but this does not take into account that park land contains acres with natural features other than only forests, such as lakes, mountains, rivers, and meadows.
On the other end of the scale, California’s San Bernardino County assembled a fact sheet that states that a healthy Californian forest contains only 40 to 60 trees per acre and that a forest with more than 100 trees per acre is overgrown.
Given these extremes, 125 trees per acre is a good ‘middle of the road’ number between the extremes of a healthy forest and an overgrown forest and is more likely to accurately reflect a total park that contains both forested areas and non-forested areas. 125 trees per acre is also reflective of an actual example of a national park with a variety of natural features– Rocky Mountain National Park, the park on which New York University’s numbers are based.
For these reasons, our numbers assume 125 trees per acre: in effect acre-for-acre comparisons of other national parks to Rocky Mountain National Park. Although these are just rough estimates, we hope they will ‘bring home’ the immense scale of America’s junk mail problem.
Sources used include the National Park Service, state government websites, the National Parks Conservation Association, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Stateparks.com, this and other U.S. forest service reports, and Wikipedia.