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French homes receive 28kg of paper ads per year

The average household in France receives more than two kilos of publicity material posted through their letterbox per month, yet only one in five has used a government “stop adverts” service that could help.

3 July 2018
By Connexion journalist

A study by consumer group UFC-Que-Choisir has found that the average amount of publicity posted through letterboxes is 2.3kg per month - almost 28kg per year.

This represents a rise of 15% in the last 14 years, the group said.

Retired man, Pierre Grandperin, found a similar amount, telling news source France Info that after one year of keeping every piece of publicity material he had received, the amount had reached a weight of 28.4kg. This was primarily made up of supermarket advertising, he said.

Alain Bazot, president of UFC-Que-Choisir, explained that as well as causing excess waste paper, publicity is also paid for by the consumer, with the cost then reflected in the price of goods.

Mr Bazot said: “If you said to the average person, ‘Would you like your €200 to go towards adverts in your letterbox?’, I am practically certain that people would say no.”

Yet, despite the growing levels of adverts through letterboxes, just one in five people in France has used the government’s free “stop-pub (stop ads)” notice programme.

The scheme - created by the Ministère de la Transition Ecologique et Solidaire in 2004 in a bid to reduce paper waste - simply encourages residents to place an official “Stop Pub” notice on their postbox or door to alert senders that they do not wish to receive excess paper publicity (below).

The scheme’s own website explains that 89% of these adverts are printed paper, 5% commercial catalogues, 4% local media, and 2% free advertorial newspapers.

The official signs say “yes to local information”, but “no to adverts and advertorial papers”, and can be downloaded directly from the government website, to be printed and stuck onto letterboxes.

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