Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I’m Not The Only One!

One of the many small things that I do to cut down on the wasteful use of our planet’s resources is to have a ‘No Flyers’ sign on my mailbox. It took me about a minute to make my sign and tape it to outside of my mailbox. One minute! Over the last two years, at this address, I’ve not received about a carload of paper flyers.

I figure that if enough people would do this then the distributors of these flyers would have to tell their contractor (the store, organization, etc) that no one wants their flyers and then this idiotic form of communication would finally cease. I wonder how much longer I’ll have to wait until that happens?

Inevitably, tho’, the occasional flyer does end up in my mailbox. Here’s what I do…

The flyers always come with the business’s phone number printed on them, so I give them a call. The person who answers my call always sounds delighted when I begin the conversation with, “Hello! I just got home from work and I noticed that your flyer was in my mailbox.” They think that I am calling to sign up for the service that they are advertising. They soon realize that their assumption is wrong!

I’m never rude with the person that I’m speaking with – in fact I try to be as pleasant as I can. People never learn anything when they are being made to feel bad. I tell them that I am aware that they are paying a company to distribute their flyers in my neighbourhood and that they should be aware that the distribution company failed to recognize and honour my ‘No Flyer’ sign, which is posted quite clearly on my mailbox. I suggest that they should contact their distributor to correct this situation.

Since I have them on the phone I take the opportunity to share some helpful information with them. I mention that since so many people are becoming conscious of environmental problems, such as deforestation, to create their flyers, that they should consider alternative paper sources for their future advertising endeavours. I suggest that they should actually highlight this on their flyers, so that people will know that their company prints on 100% recycled post consumer paper, or even hemp paper.

I also mention that there are several local printing companies that use special vegetable based inks that are not as harmful to the environment as regular inks.

+ + + +

The other day I was out in my garden, working away, when my neighbour came out to his garden to do some work, as well. Soon, we were chatting – as we often do – and I began to share my story about a phone call that I had made to a ‘green’ company that had left a flyer in my mailbox

This is the top of the flyer. I laughed when I asked, “How can an environmental company tell me to ‘protect our planet’ when they’ve just created thousands of advertising flyers using regular (non-recycled) paper with colourful images printed in harmful inks?”

I told him of the conversation that I had with the receptionist for the company and my neighbour responded with, “Seriously! You did that. I thought my wife and I were the only ones who ever called the companies to let them know that their flyer ended up in our mailbox.”

We both laughed!

I’m hoping that some of you are smiling now, because you have made similar phone calls in the past.

I’m also hoping that some of you will now be inspired to take the time to share your opinion with the makers of flyers, in the future.

While I was preparing this blog, I thought that it would be a good idea to help those of you who may want to put up your own ‘No Flyer’ sign, by making one for you…

This image was designed to fit a standard 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper, or label sheet. You can cut-n-paste this image into a word file or photoshop program and print it yourself. There are two images on this one sheet – one for you and one for a neighbour or friend.

Thanking you in advance for your positive participation…

PS - If you would like to know more about the significance of the Temagami forestland, please visit:

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