Filed in Blog by on September 10, 2011 8 Comments
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Here’s the sneaky one that nearly scuppered our zero waste week.

There we are on holiday, minding our own business and enjoying a bit of sea and sand when we get back to our car to find this:


Yep, you can’t even get away from junk mail when you’re away from home.

Ok, so paper is pretty easy to recycle but I started wondering about the whole ‘leaflet drop’ mentality.

Firstly Mr Green grabbed the leaflet, scrunched it up and threw it in the car.

It was an hour or so later when curiosity got the better of me and I wondered what was on that ad so I smoothed it out to read it. (I needn’t have bothered; it was for an open air market taking place after we were back home).

How many more people screw up paper like that without even reading it; so how effective are these advertising campaigns anyway? It was nice thick glossy paper with bright ink on it which must have cost quite a bit to produce; not to mention all the resources wasted…

Second, there were probably a couple of hundred cars in the car park – all with matching leaflets – how many people will bother to landfill them, let alone recycle? How many people are more likely to pull them out from the windscreen and throw them on the ground (as witnessed by me half a dozen times in the time it took me to load up the car, get in and drive off) so they become litter?

Fortunately, just across the road, in another car park was a paper recycling bank so I was able to dispose of mine and to be honest I wouldn’t have minded if I’d ad to bring the leaflet home to recycle – How many people would make that effort?

What about you – we can reduce junk mail at home, but how many of you get it on your car windscreens?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (8)

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  1. Julie Day says:

    We still get junk mail at home despite having 3-4 notices on our window saying ‘No Junk Mail’ and ‘No Cold Callers’. They either can’t read or ignore it. I think I have seen leaflets put on cars round here but not that often.

  2. Mrs Green says:

    @Julie Day: Glad to hear it’s not happening often around there, Julie. Hope you’ve been enjoying national zero waste week 🙂

  3. one of the beneficial side effects of the dire economic situation in the US. Midwest is that i have noticed a sharp decline in advertising leaflets…of course there are still too many floating down the gutters, embedded in the mud and leaf run-off, caught on bushes and fences in various stages of decomposition, not a pretty sight.

    what bothers me is the source of these ads: most are for products which are clearly non-essential = that translates into wasted paper and inks, wasted transport and machinery–and for what? more waste to go to the landfill which must be shipped very long distances here.

    being afoot, it would be hard to catch me standing still to pin one of these on my windshield glasses…at least i can decline the unwanted piece of junk gracefully, no thanks, i don’t need this…

  4. Mrs Green says:

    @nadine sellers: great thoughts Nadine; this week I had a ‘betterware; catalogue pushed through the door and my immediate thought that it was full of things people never realse they ‘need’ until they see it in print. But we fall for it; I have in the past – just blindly bought like a sheep without stopping to think why…

  5. Poppy says:

    Those that analyse these things say there is a 7 second window of opportunity to grab the attention of the person retrieving the leaflet. 7 seconds from door to disposal. Add in the issue of multi occupied households and you begin to understand why the message is repeated so often,

    The organisation I work with deliver to every household at least 4 times a year, but still people say they never get anything!

  6. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: 7 seconds – wow; that’s incredible…

  7. S.Adams says:

    I do not fancy those things on my vehicle – most of them are advertising things I have no interest in. But I do recyle my junk paper or I keep it for my bird’s cage. It’s kinda funny watching my bird run over ads that I don’t like. But I always do recycle my paper even though it’s all junk in my opinion.

  8. Mrs Green says:

    @S.Adams: Thanks for your comment and interesting to hear that the glossy leaflets are ok for our feathered friends. I thought some of them were toxic… You learn something new every day!

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