Environmental aid for unsolicited mail: “Advertising – yes please!” for climate protection

Status: 10.09.2021 5:45 p.m.

Advertising papers or supermarket brochures – if you don’t want them in your mailbox, you can put an “Advertisement – no thanks!” Sign on them. This is not enough for environmental aid: Advertising mail should only be received by those who expressly agree.

Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) demands that express consent is required at the mailbox in order to receive unaddressed advertising mail. The environmental protection organization estimates that a statutory so-called opt-in procedure could save up to 535,000 tons of CO2 annually.

Advertising may then only be thrown into mailboxes if this is expressly desired, for example with an “Advertising – yes please” sign. This is a simple and quick to implement climate protection measure. Currently, the rule applies that citizens must expressly refuse advertising mail – for example with a sticker “Please no advertising” – in order not to receive it.

Up to 700 grams per household per week

There are no reliable figures as to how large the volume of unsolicited advertising is in mailboxes. According to estimates by the Federal Environment Agency, there are around 500 to 700 grams of unsolicited advertising and free newspapers per household every week. Umwelthilfe assumes that around three quarters of all households reject such advertising mail as a matter of principle, i.e. would forego an “advertising – yes, please” sticker if an “opt-in system” were introduced. The calculation of the CO2 saving potential is based on this assumption.

The Ministry of Justice announced that it welcomed the fact that associations were now also drawing attention to environmental protection aspects in connection with unsolicited advertising. A new legal regulation will be decided in the coming legislative period. Important questions are still unanswered – such as compatibility with European law or with a view to possible disadvantages for local companies. Advertising mail is “an important sales promotion instrument” for stationary retail, for example. In addition, an “opt-in rule” could also affect the freedom of the press if, for example, advertising papers with an editorial part were covered by a ban.

Post against prohibition of unaddressed advertising

The environmentalists, however, already see companies as having an obligation, especially Deutsche Post. According to its own information, it carried around 6.8 billion so-called dialogue marketing programs last year. The group emphasizes that it acts on behalf of customers. The proportion of unaddressed advertising mail is 40 percent.

Deutsche Post does not believe in “advertising – yes please” signs. Customers could now mark their rejection of advertising mail with a “no advertising please” sticker.

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