A report by the Direct Marketing Association and Royal Mail claims that 76.5% of direct marketing material is now recycled, ahead of the 2009 target of 55% agreed between the industry and the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
The recycling rate also beats the 2013 target of 70%.
The report claims the outperformance has been achieved by better targeting, industry initiatives such as the Royal Mail’s Sustainable Mail offering and increased subscription to direct mail opt-out service Mailing Preference Service.
The industry has came under fire recently after the limit on the number of unaddressed mail items Royal Mail postal workers can deliver was lifted.
The move provoked concern among consumer and environmental groups that the amount of “junk mail” would increase significantly, although industry observers have claimed that the change will increase Royal Mail’s market share but not overall volume.
The DMA, Royal Mail and DEFRA have now agreed a number of next steps to continue to improve the industry’s environmental record.
A “DM environmental working group” – consisting of representatives from the DM industry, local and national government – is to be established.
A new “producer responsibility agreement”, due next year, will aim to improve targeting, suppression, recycling and improve material design.