Thursday, 7 June 2012

Throw away papers - anyone reading?

I'm currently on hold.  The hold muzak is falsely upbeat, but slightly static, like a radio station tuned in the cracks between the stations. Every 30 seconds or so, the muzak is interrupted with the news that my call is important, they're grateful for my patience and they'll be with me real soon.

I'm calling the local give away newspaper after another lot was dumped in a pile at the foot of the 28 letter boxes which serve my apartment block.  Often I chase the pages down the street before dumping them in the recycling bins.  Other times I'm picking up wet paper slurry after the pile of papers has been rained on for a few days and dumping it in the recycling bins.  "Throw away" would be a more apt name.

It's hard to imagine that the people who produce the paper and the people who pay to advertise in it would be happy that this is how their product ends up.
It hasn't rained today, so the newspaper soup is not evident.
(c) divacultura 2012

Today I decided to pick one up and see what's in it.  There were two free local papers.  One of them had some stories of local interest, the other was really a vehicle for real estate advertising.  Inside the two papers there were 19 junk mail catalogues.  Nineteen!  It's end of financial year so there's a big pitch for people to spend money in the hope that they will gain a tax benefit.  If you're stuck for ideas, look no further than the junk mail.

After almost five minutes on hold Andrew answers my call.  I describe the fate of his publication and he agrees that the delivery process renders the whole exercise pointless.  My "complaint" will go through to the people who do the deliveries.

I mention my "no junk mail" label that I have on my letter box.  His hackles go up.  His newspaper is NOT junk mail.  It's unaddressed mail.  Apparently I need to apply a more comprehensive sticker.  I'm beginning to understand why my crazy neighbour has sealed his letter box shut by attaching a metal plate.  So that pile of paper slurry at the entrance to my building is unaddressed mail, NOT junk mail. Must remember that.

I've written before about my relationship with junk mail.  Looking after the world I live in is something I am passionate about.  I don't like litter.  I don't like waste.  It could be argued that the very existence of these throw aways is an exercise in both, regardless of how they are delivered.  I don't even read the newspapers offered for sale.  Dumping them in a pile sends the message that the producers think the same way.  I'm sure the advertisers probably suspect this.  This problem could be solved with some creative streamlining: advertisers can transfer money to a bank acccount somewhere.  No need for paper, ink, time or recycling collection.  Same result, less litter.

I'll be interested to see whether the distribution method changes in coming weeks.

Do you read the throw away papers?  How about the catalogues? What do you do with them?

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