Lifehacker Australia’s timely post, Opt out of receiving junk mail, appeared in my feed reader as I returned from our letterbox with an unwanted ‘free’ newspaper in my hand. [Name and shame: it’s The Wellingtonian.]
I thought there was nothing to be done about junk mail – but I was wrong!
The Australian Catalogue Association has a code of conduct saying members and their deliverers will not deliver materials to addresses displaying a “No Advertising Material” sign.
… Note that this won’t stop all unsolicited mail – newspapers are exempted, along with political pamphlets.
Let me step back a year or two …
When we had our house extended a while ago we also had our front garden landscaped. It’s now full of gorgeous, thriving, native grasses and shrubs. It was the right time to dispose of the clunky, old, leaky letterbox and buy an (expensive) sleek, shiny, waterproof, locking, Gioiosa letterbox. A small letterbox. When I flashed the plastic to buy it, I had in mind that we don’t receive a lot of dead tree mail.
We live on a steep footpath, a good 50 metres or more from the road. At that time whatever young person was employed to deliver unwanted advertising material to letterboxes didn’t make it down as far as us. I’d been lulled into a false sense of postal ‘lightness’.
But then, maybe a year ago, something changed. Our letterbox would routinely be crammed with junk mail every Thursday after recycling collection. Suddenly the real mail had nowhere left to go: the postie would squash it into the top of the mailbox, leaving it sticking out into the wind and rain while the unwanted junk was snug and dry inside the box, filling it up.
About a month ago I decided I’d had enough. I didn’t want to deface our beautiful letterbox, but I headed down to Mitre 10 and perused the collection of “No circulars please” stickers. I bought one that was minimally offensive to me and placed it prominently on the box.
And sure enough, it has somewhat reduced the number and amount of advertising leaflets. It’s done nothing to stop the ‘free’ newspapers, though.
This really bugs me. Someone somewhere is cutting down a forest, burning fossil fuel to transport and manufacture newsprint, wasting electricity to apply ink and then creating more air pollution to deliver to my letterbox something I absolutely don’t want. I don’t buy or read newspapers! Why would I want a ‘free’ newspaper?
Then I have to spend time and energy carrying this detritus up the path to be collected by the recycling truck who are burning fossil fuel to take it away again.
I wish it were email spam. Then I could unsubscribe and the law would make them stop sending me their junk.
I’ve tried emailing the newspapers. [Name and shame: City Life, South and East are another perpetrator of this ought-to-be-a-crime.] They don’t care. City Life didn’t respond to my email. The Wellingtonian did:
I will again forward to the contractor, but please understand, that the
newspaper isn’t classed as a circular.
It seems that if I’m to make any headway I need some giant notice that lists every conceivable piece and type of material I don’t want in my letterbox. ‘Not a circular’ indeed! What a load of garbage.
Consumer were friendly, but didn’t have good news for me:
… the bad news is that there’s no easy way to stop this. You’ve done the right thing by putting signs on your letterbox, but the free newspapers are correct in telling you that they’re not circulars.
They did advise me to try contacting the Marketing Association, but I’m pretty sure I added my name to one of their lists ages ago.
You know how there are things that just really, really annoy you? Well this is one of them as far as I’m concerned — I don’t pay for the damn things so I can’t stop them. I wonder what would happen if I posted them back, minus a stamp? I wonder if trespass could come into play?
Any useful ideas, anyone?