Nov 28, 2018

Fly(ers) Straight into the Trash

Oh, flyers, how much I hate receiving thee. I would often come home to open my mailbox for excitement, and inside I find nothing but advertisements about open house showings near my area (which I don’t have the money for, even for the down payment), some local clinic reminding you to go to them when you are sick, and politicians wanting to make me remember their faces. And right next to the mailboxes at the apartment, there is a trashcan for everyone to immediately dump the pages of flyers into. I cannot see how this, in any way, is good for the environment, and it is nothing but wasteful.

Fly(ers) Straight into the Trash photo

Often, the flyers are repeated, too. Just in case I missed the first one, pizza shops would send out seconds and thirds to grab my attention or to remind me of their existence. Every single time I visit them or place an order online, I want to tell them, “I remember you guys, so you don’t need to send me paper to remind me of you anymore!” (but of course, I have never done that and I doubt it will make a difference as they wouldn’t take the time to ask their delivery people to skip one certain room number in one particular apartment).

It is quite bizarre if we really think about what is happening: postmen and postwomen are being paid by companies to put books worth of flyers into mailboxes daily across Japan just to have them tossed into the trashcan almost instantly. They are essentially delivering garbage. I certainly certain more flyers than actual mail, and I wish people recognize that garbage is being printed, delivered and then tossed out in an extremely unnecessary manner.

Fly(ers) Straight into the Trash photo

What can we do? You may think, and I am glad that you are thinking! I don’t have any magic answers, but I believe that every single voice counts, even the small ones. One thing I do now is to use online coupons rather than printed ones, sending companies the idea that we (or at least I) don’t need you to waste paper because the same digital advertisement would get us to come to your business, too. 

I also often do their online survey. Partially it is for the free bottle of soft drink I get, but another part is me looking forward to checking the “saw your promotion online” box and not the “saw it in flyers” for the question asking about how I got to notice the shop.

Fly(ers) Straight into the Trash photo

One more thing I try to do is to reuse these flyers in any small way I can think of. Wrapping garbage with them instead of using another plastic bag, using them as mats here and there… they are a bit silly, but I just feel bad for throwing them out directly! At the very least, I make sure I recycle them instead of mixing them in with normal combustible garbage. 

I am hoping that if people realize the amount of garbage these flyers equate to, something will change. As long as companies in Japan think that they are still effective, even if it means getting 2 customers out of every 100 prints, they will never stop, so it is up to the consumers.


  • KevinC

    on Nov 28

    I put up a label in Japanese to ask them not to put flyers into my mailbox. https://diydays.info/no-posting-sticker-free-download This website includes a PDF for the label after it was put up I only get about one or two flyer a month. I used to get about 50 flyers a month.

  • Sanrio

    on Dec 3

    @KevinC That is excellent. I am going to give that a try!!