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15 areas of France stop getting letterbox flyers unless locals opt in

The measure will be trialled for three years and may then be extended across the country 

15 areas of France will see letterbox flyers banned unless residents opt in, under a new government initiative Pic: Aleksandr Mokhnachev / Shutterstock

Residents of 15 different areas of France will from this summer no longer receive unaddressed flyers and other marketing in their post boxes unless they opt in to do so under a new scheme which aims to promote “more responsible advertising”.

People in these places will have to stick a ‘Oui Pub’ sticker to their post box if they do want to receive this sort of correspondence. 

Otherwise, it will be illegal to put unaddressed publicity flyers in people’s post. 

The trial measure, which was detailed in the 2021 Loi Climat et Résilience, will affect 2.5 million people.

The 15 areas where the new system will be introduced have been chosen as part of a trial lasting between now and 2025.  

They are: 

  • Grenoble-Alpes-Métropole
  • Bordeaux 
  • The Métropole du Grand Nancy 
  • The Agglomération d’Agen 
  • Sartrouville 
  • The Leff Armor Communauté of communes
  • The Communauté de communes Vallée de l’Ubaye Serre-Ponçon
  • Communauté urbaine de Dunkerque Grand Littoral 
  • Troyes Champagne Métropole

As well as areas served by the waste collection services of: 

  • Smictom du Pays de Fougères 
  • Syndicat de traitement des déchets Ardèche-Drôme 
  • Syndicat Intercommunal de Collecte et Traitement des Ordures ménagères de la Basse Ardèche
  • Univalom 
  • Smicval Libournais Haute Gironde 
  • Syvadec in Corsica 

The ecological transition ministry has stated that this measure aims to prevent these people from having to put up with so much advertising in their post and “to reduce waste”.

“The impact will be moderate during the experimental phase, but it must come in anticipation of the generalisation of the measure across the country,” it added. 

The mail marketing ban will begin to come into force from July 1, but for Dunkerque and Troyes Champagne Métropole the education phase will only begin in December, with the ban being imposed from February.

How significant will the impact be? 

Thomas Bourgenot of the Résistance à l’agression publicitaire campaign group told that he was pleased with the new scheme, “even if we would have preferred it to be applied nationwide straightaway.

“The problem with trialling it is that we do not know if it will ever be made a general rule,” he said. “What surprises us is that there has to be an initiative to stop mail marketing at all,” seeing as a Stop Pub campaign was first set up in 2004. 

However, Stop Pub stickers, indicating that a household did not want to receive mail marketing, were no longer distributed after 2009, and only 20% of letterboxes currently have one.

Postal marketing uses a huge amount of paper: “In 2019, more than 894,000 tonnes of printed flyers were distributed randomly to people, with a significant proportion thrown away without ever being read,” Stop Pub states. 

“This [Oui Pub] initiative should enable local authorities to reduce their waste collection and treatment costs.” 

The Loi Climat et Résilience also contains an article which from January 1, 2023 will ban companies from claiming in adverts that a product or service is ‘carbon neutral’ without giving proof of total greenhouse gas emissions.

How do I get a Oui Pub sticker? 

If you live in an area included in the Oui Pub trial, you will be able to get a sticker from your mairie in the coming weeks. 

It is also possible to buy one from the Stop Pub website, at a cost of €1.50.  

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