Some 70% of Britain’s direct mail will be recycled within a decade under a new deal between the government and the UK Direct Marketing Association.

At present, only some 13% of waste from commercial mailings is recycled. In a new agreement with the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs, the DMA has committed to increase this figure to 30% by 2005, 55% by 2009, then 70% by 2013.

To meet these targets, the trade group has produced a guide advising members on which materials to use and which to avoid. It is also encouraging kerbside collection of direct mail waste, a scheme that will be developed in conjunction with Planet Ark, an environmental group founded by tennis player Pat Cash.

“This initiative will be promoted heavily to the DMA membership and wider industry through a range of communication activities,” explained DMA director of development and postal affairs David Robottom. “We are committed as an industry to reduce direct mail waste in a sustainable way so that we can find a fair balance between industry and consumer needs.”

A further way to avoid mailing materials ending up on landfill sites is to improve mailshot targeting. With this in mind the DMA and Planet Ark will promote the Mailing Preference Service, a scheme allowing consumers to opt out of 95% of direct mail. A joint national promotional campaign is planned for the autumn to build awareness of the service among consumers and local authorities.

Data sourced from: Direct Marketing Association; additional content by WARC staff