Save our trees: no flyers please!

Written by Rodney Graham on September 11, 2019

Pro-environment messages on a mailbox. Photo by Rod Graham.

The recent stories about the Phillipines sending back almost 70 shipping containers of Canadian garbage highlighted our country’s ongoing trash problem. Recycling programs capture only a fraction of the waste produced by Canadians, and much of what is put into recycling bins ends up in landfills. For years, the “solution” was to ship much of our waste (about 40%) overseas to countries that would take it.

Paper is one type of waste sent out of the country for recycling. Until recently, China took most of the paper sent offshore for recycling, according to Statistics Canada. In 2018, China restricted the types of paper it would accept, and now Canada’s the biggest export markets for its recycled paper are the US and India.

My website, No Flyer Campaign, has information about flyers, the fastest growing element in Canadian landfills. Reducing one tonne of junk mail saves 17 trees, 2.3 cubic metres if landfill, 31,400 litres of water, 4,200 kilowatt hours of energy, 1,600 litres of oil and avoids 26 kilograms of air pollutants.

I am advocating for a new federal law requiring anyone delivering flyers to respect a “no flyers” notice on a mailbox. My campaign website lists many facts about the environmental impact of flyers, as well as my personal history and journey leading up to my environmental activism.

I am currently in Fredericton and was recently downtown collecting signatures on my petition for the new law. In my previous visits to Fredericton, I recognized that there are many strong progressive voices in the city that support environmental causes. My campaign promotional material includes a sticker for mailboxes: Save our trees! No flyers please!

I have traveled across Canada by many means in the past, five times. Once, I even traveled across Canada by freight train. I did it because I was writing a series about train hoppers and the homeless in Canada. You can read about it on a few websites – is one. I have been an activist and freelancer for 43 years and I’m 62 now. This is my last campaign before I retire to Haida Gwaii on the west coast.

I have helpful, informative, useful and topical information that the public should be aware of: How to stop flyers, but also how to stop other forms of advertising and also fraud and scams. My website shows not only how to stop junk mail and flyers but also how to stop telemarketing and other forms of advertising, and also how hemp can, and possibly will, literally save the world. Sounds a bit mad does it? Well, check my website and read it – There are some good ideas there.

We need to start changing things. The scientists are right; the corporations and corrupt politicians are wrong. I have also made a website for many of my pictures as I have traveled across our wonderful nation over 40 years: I hope I can help my fellow Canadians and also encourage them onward – to a better and healthier nation – and more just and equal world.

Rodney Graham is the founder of the No-Flyer campaign.

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