Wherever you live in the world, whether it is a Local Council, Presidential, State or Federal election, your mailbox will groan under the weight of materials aimed at winning your vote. It might be the electronic era, but it seems that a piece of paper in your letterbox is still considered the most efficient way of getting a message across.
While an informed electorate is essential to the democratic process, there appears to be huge over-sending of junk mail for political purposes – and no clear way on how to stop this. What’s worse, the content of most of the political flyers is simply mudslinging about their opponents with little to no intellectual substance. Is anyone else reminded of children in the playground?
How can you help stop this unnecessary waste of paper? Imagine the strain on our environment and the large volume of greenhouse gases generated from all the trees cut down, electricity and transport of the materials. Grab a cup of tea or your water bottle and let’s get down to it.
We know in Australia that material that is deemed to be political, educational, religious and charitable is exempt from “No Junk Mail” signed letterboxes according to standards developed by the Australian Catalogue Association. So there is no way to stop it being posted in your letterbox along with the other junk mail catalogues enticing you to buy all sorts of things you don’t really need. It is probably the same in other countries.
Step 1. Incorrectly addressed political mail
Much of your mail may be addressed to former occupants of the house. You need to “return this to sender” with the note “no longer at this address”.
Step 2. Contact every political party or politician that is mailing you
There is no central database so you will need to call the office of each individual sender and ask to be removed from their mailing list. Remember to be polite! You catch more bees with honey than vinegar.
Step 3. National Standard to stop political junk mail
Write a letter to the Electoral Commission asking them to implement a National Standard to curb the volume of pieces each political party is allowed to put in each household’s letterbox.
Step 4. Polling day
Don’t forget to recycle any materials you are given on the day – often the Greens Party has a box at the booths for such materials on polling day!
Written by Tracey Bailey, Director of Biome Eco Stores in Brisbane, specialists in water bottles and eco friendly, reusable choices for your home, body and lifestyle.