For some, advertising brochures in the mailbox are a welcome source of information, for others, the colorful leaves are a nuisance that clogs the mailbox. In order to stem the flood of paper, a note such as “Please no advertising"is affixed to about every second letterbox in Switzerland.
Until two years ago, Amsterdam was the same. Then the city radically changed its System. Since the beginning of 2018 the inhabitants of Amsterdam must expressly agree, if they want to have advertising brochures, by affixing a small, green sticker on the mailbox. Who does not put a note, gets no advertising.
Conversion saves tons of waste
The approval concept significantly reduced the amount of waste. Within a year, the number of inhabitants who received advertising in paper form halved. Each household saves about 33 kilograms of paper waste per year. This results in an estimated 1,800 tons less waste throughout the city of Amsterdam.
Who advertises nevertheless, must pay penalty
In January 2019, the city administration stepped up and imposed penalties on distributors for repeated violations. Studies by the Municipal Research Office OIS show how much interest in letterbox advertising really is. Only about one fifth (19 percent) of the mailboxes are now marked with a “yes sticker”. Before the necessary approval was introduced, almost half (49 percent) of households received free newspapers and advertising.
Since the introduction of the “yes-yes sticker”, the amount of waste in Amsterdam has decreased.
The green"yes-yes” sticker complements the previous System with which residents were able to tell whether they did not want advertising brochures (folders), advertising sheets (huis aan huisbladen) or neither. They used to put” NEE-JA “and"NEE-NEE” stickers on the mailbox. The new marking is therefore called “Yes-yes Sticker”.
This is what it looked like in Amsterdam before the introduction of the “Yes-Yes"stickers: those who did not want to receive brochures or advertising sheets had to make this known. The System is still valid.
Court: Explicit consent is legal
The advertisers took legal action against the new regulation, and the city of Amsterdam appealed. It was about whether explicit consent or English an” Opt-in " is allowed in the advertising distribution. On 24 September 2019 the court ruled that Amsterdam may keep the stickers. “Very good news in the fight against paper waste,” said Marieke van Doorninck, a Left-Green councillor from Amsterdam.
Other Dutch cities had initially awaited the verdict, but quickly followed suit. Utrecht, Rotterdam and Haarlem have also introduced the “yes-yes"sticker by 2020. The Hague starts with the Opt-in method in April, other cities do not yet have a fixed date.
Advertisers demand national regulation, journalists fear for the ad sheet
The business association MKB-Nederland fears that a” patchwork of different regulations " could arise and demands a national regulation. There are also disagreements about the distribution of display sheets. Utrecht, for example, wants these to be covered by the new regulation, MKB-Nederland argues that small, local providers could advertise there.
The Dutch journalists ' association NVJ is also concerned because ad sheets often contain local news that larger channels do not provide. In Amsterdam, advertising sheets and printed matter from non-commercial organisations such as political parties may continue to be distributed to letterboxes without stickers.