First things first:
This said, posting a logo on your mailbox doesn't solve the leaflet problem, which extends far beyond your yard. In Montreal, 900,000 weekly bags are left on people's doorsteps, most of them unsolicited. And since sorting centers fail to separate so many plastic bags from their paper contents, these 500 weekly tons of refuse end up in nearly-overstuffed landfill sites. In Quebec, that's 182 million bags per year, or 100,100 tons of trash.
In addition, distributors often ignore the logos. Also, the ads are frequently left on stairs, balconies or fenceposts, even though mailboxes and doorknobs are the only options allowed in Montreal. Adding insult to injury, the straps that bind the bags together wind up on sidewalks by the hundreds, in violation of the cleanliness bylaws.
It doesn't end there. Protest letters yield no results. We filed more than 120 complaints in vain: the distributors were merely sent toothless warnings, and the number of spotted infractions actually increased in the following weeks. City offficials could have collected $120,000,000 in fines, but in October 2018, they admitted that they wouldn't do that.
So we switched tracks and proposed two corrections to the by-laws, which would:
These proposals were endorsed by 13 major groups, including Équiterre, Greenpeace, the Suzuki Foundation, Nature Quebec, the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, the Council of Canadians, and the indigenous defence charity RAVEN.
It took five years, but on May 17, 2023, the City of Montreal finally announced that it had implemented both of our demands.
We're now working on getting other Quebec cities to follow suit. So far, about 90 of them have either done so or announced that they will. For more English info, see our Media page. To lend us a hand, please contact us.
Charles Montpetit is a longtime activist and the author or co-author of 15 books, including the First Time anthology, the December 6 essay on the Montreal Massacre, and the children's fable The Great Menace. He has won a Governor General's Award, a Signet d'or and a White Raven. And he's hopping mad about companies who refuse to do their share to pull the world back from the environmental brink.
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