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Activist plots to counter return of junk ‘snail mail’

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NEW YORK (AP) — Robert Bulmash believes that recent attempts to crack down on spam e-mail and telemarketing have led many bulk advertisers to return to an old-fashioned tactic: sending junk postal mail.

To fight back, the founder of Private Citizen Inc. is encouraging Americans to hold on to every piece of junk mail they get in April. Then on May 1, Bulmash suggests that we write "return to sender" on all the unopened envelopes and take them to the post office, which has to trash them or dump them back on their source.

Bulmash hopes his "Cut Junk Mail Month" draws attention to the waste and annoyance created by the unsolicited credit card offers and product pitches stuffed in our mail slots.

And he hopes to encourage federal regulators to crack down on junk mail, just like they have tried to restrict "telenuisances" — phone and e-mail pitches. He'd like to see a "do-not-mail" list like the federal "do-not-call" list for telemarketers.

"If they can't get in through the phone, they'll get in through the door," said Bulmash, who charges people $20 a year to help them block telemarketing calls and $10 a year to get them off direct mail lists.

A spokesman for the Direct Mail Association did not return a call seeking comment.