Digital sustainability?

This article is published in cooperation with NOPA.

In Sweden many people put a sticker on their letterbox saying ”No advertisements, please”. In Amsterdam, the Netherlands, a new regulation states that you have to do it the other way: In order to receive printed indirect mail/advertisements/weekly door to door newspapers, you have to apply a special label on your letterbox saying ”YES/YES ”. The idea behind it is to save CO2 emissions, and other cities in the Netherlands are considering to introduce the same regulation.

One effect of this is that major retail printers have to change future plans, it definitely lead to loosing print capacity and therefore loss of jobs. This so-called precaution measurement brings also the retailers in big trouble getting their “messages” out to all citizens.

Advertisement should be watched on the web. But how sustainable is this? In terms of CO2 emissions, 5.5 minutes of Internet use produces just as much CO2 as the production and delivery of a full-colour paper leaflet in A4 format. And the CO2 emissions from the paper mail that reach one household via the letterbox during one year amount to 14 kg. This is comparable to driving 70 km with a standard family car.

Source: and Contiweb.