As Canada gets criticism in Copenhagen on it’s environment slovenliness, this campaign caught our eye as one of many signs that Canadians as a nation are in fact far more aware and active than our Politicians decisions portray on the international platform.
The Canadian flyer industry contributes more than 1 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually. Paper-based advertising uses up a lot of water, electricity, fossil fuels, and trees. Our mailboxes are literally stuffed with junk mail that, at best, receives a quick glimpse before being trashed or hopefully recycled. Yet the standard industry response rate is only 2 percent. That’s a 98 percent failure rate! You do the math, the insanity is terrifying and we shudder to think what our neighbours to the South are inundated with! So it’s a good thing that a Canadian federal program and a bunch of red dots are helping to reduce this environmentally unfriendly form of advertising. For the past 11 years, Canada Post has offered Canadians the opportunity to opt out of receiving junk mail.
Some business owners are starting to understand that people don’t need or want flyers. In the world’s most “internet connected” country, grocery store giants like Loblaw’s, Metro and Food Basics, as well as the likes of Best Buy/Future Shop , Canadian Tire and so many more already offer e-flyers online.
The Internet, is also where you will find the Red Dot Campaign—named for the red dot that Canada Post uses in their files to indicate households that have vetoed unaddressed admail. Since January 2008, reddotcampaign.ca has taken off, proving that Candians don’t have to be victims of literary litter. Five percent of households have already opted out using Canada Post’s “Consumer Choice” option, according to the Red Dot website. Advertisers use Canada Post numbers to plan their print runs, so the more people who say no, the more waste is reduced over the long term. It couldn’t be easier to take a few simple steps that can save a lot of trees.
Put a “No Ad Mail or “No Junk Mail” sign on your mailbox, which carriers are supposed to (but sometimes don’t) heed. Rules vary in different regions, so check reddotcampaign.ca for specifics. For those of you in a condo, loft or community living situation, talk to your condo board and see if a consensus against junk mail can be reached.
Write a letter to Canada Post indicating you don’t want any unaddressed mail delivered to your home. Reddotcampaign.ca website offers a sample.
Register on the Canadian Marketing Association’s “Do Not Contact” service at the-cma.org, which will reduce mail-out advertising from its members and/or you can also write to: Do Not Mail Service, c/o Canadian Marketing Association, 1 Concorde Gate, Suite 607, Don Mills, Ontario M3C 3N6.
If you do(t) nothing else for the environment in the new year … do(t) this.
(If you are a US citizen)