Industry  |  Successes  |  01.07.2011

No Junk Mail Stickers

The UK Government estimated that in 2002 there was between 500,000 and 600,000 tonnes of paper used for direct mail and promotions, of which only 13% was recycled. The average French household receives 15kg of unaddressed mail each year, accounting for 5% of household waste. The French estimate that unaddressed or junk mail creates 1 million tones of waste each year.

Several countries have started campaigns to highlight the problem, and introduced a sticker which you can put on your mailbox to discourage or completely prevent unsolicited mail. The best example of these is in the Belgium region of Wallonne, which has introduced a sticker with legal sections for senders who do not comply. Households affix a specially designed sticker to their mailbox, and can contact their municipality if they receive any advertisements or free press which is not specifically addressed to them.

In the UK, individuals can contact the Royal Mail to opt out of receiving advertising through the post service. They can also put a ‘No Junk Mail’ sticker on their door, which helps remind postmen, but does not legally prevent hand-delivered mail from other senders. Although there is no legal requirement, these stickers can be quite successful, as it is usually in a company’s interest to distribute their advents to households which are more receptive, and not risk irritating potential customers who typically ignore junk mail and have indicated a preference not to receive it.

The situation in France is similar. Postal distributers are not legally required to comply, however they have committed to respecting the stickers as they recognise it is in their interest to do so.  The junk mail problem has been highlighted by a government campaign which started in 2004. The first year of the campaign saw 2.6 million requests for stickers, and more than 70% of users were satisfied with the results of sticker and received significantly less junk mail.

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