UK's DMA Agrees to Higher Recycling Rates

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After months of negotiations, the United Kingdom's Direct Marketing Association signed an agreement this week with the government setting higher recycling targets for direct mail.

By the end of 2005, 30 percent of all waste direct mail must be recycled. This will rise to 55 percent by 2009 and to 70 percent by 2013, according to the agreement with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Currently, 13 percent of direct mail is recycled, the DMA said.

The DMA said the industry will achieve the higher rates by setting up systems to increase the collection and recycling of direct mail, publicizing the services available to consumers to opt out of receiving direct mail and improving the targeting of promotions mailed.

"This initiative will be promoted heavily to the DMA membership and wider industry through a range of communication activities," David Robottom, director of development and postal affairs at the DMA, said in a statement. "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."

The DMA also said it will start a national consumer education campaign this fall to raise awareness of the Mailing Preference Service in partnership with the environmental foundation Planet Ark. The MPS lets consumers sign up to be removed from up to 95 percent of direct mail lists in the UK. The service has 1.2 million names registered, the DMA said.

Environment minister Elliot Morley said the agreement helps the government meet a commitment made three years ago in its Waste Strategy 2000 program.

"We are determined that producers must take responsibility for their products when they become waste," he said.

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