Between 800,000 and 900,000 tonnes of unsolicited printed advertisements are distributed yearly in France to households that have not opted out of receiving them, according to the government’s Stop Pub campaign - the equivalent of 40kg of leaflets per mailbox and 12 million trees.
With certain sectors such as retail and cinema excluded from advertising on national TV until 2007 in order to protect other media such as the press and radio, many companies have traditionally opted for distributing publicity leaflets.
While numbers have been decreasing, if you are fed up of finding unsolicited adverts in your letterbox or want to do your part for the environment, here’s what you can do to stop receiving them:
The stop-pub sticker
In 2004, the Ministry of the Ecology introduced the Stop Pub sticker, which goes on your letterbox and informs companies that you do not wish to receive unaddressed advertisements.
If you are worried about the aesthetic of plastering a sticker on your letterbox, you can also buy a particular design in the online boutique.
If you continue to receive advertisements despite displaying a Stop Pub sticker, you can report the company or companies on the StopPub.fr website. Offending companies will be penalised, with initial fines starting at €1,500 and rising to €15,000 per instance for repeat offenders.
What to do if you receive other types of unsolicited publicity or spam
If you receive unwanted advertisements that are addressed directly to you (including your name and address), you must register yourself on the Robinson List by sending your details by post to Fevad, la Fédération du e-commerce et de la vente à distance.
You can find the address and form on the Fevad website.
If you receive unwanted emails to which you did not subscribe and you cannot unsubscribe, you can report it to Signal Spam.
If you receive spam text messages, you can forward the message to the number 33700. You will then receive a text asking for the spammer’s phone number. Once you send it in response, you will receive a message informing you that the report has been completed.
You can find more information, including on how to identify a spam message, on the Spams vocaux et SMS website.
If you receive unwanted canvas calls from private companies, you can register your phone number to not receive these calls on the government’s Bloctel service.
This free service is valid for three years, although users have reported that it doesn’t always work, in which case you can find other tips below.