Montreal to set up opt-in program for residents to receive flyers

According to Mayor Valérie Plante, 800,000 unsolicited circulars are printed weekly and distributed across the city.

800,000 unsolicited circulars are printed in the city weekly, mayor says

The weekly delivery of circulars, coupons and local newspapers is a boon to some, a nuisance to others. Starting next year, Montrealers will have to opt in to get their delivery. (Denis Gervais/Radio-Canada)

Starting next spring, Montrealers will be able to choose whether or not they receive weekly flyers at their home, Mayor Valérie Plante said today.

In May 2023, people who want to continue receiving circulars and coupons will have to place a green sticker on their door or mailbox to indicate their interest.

At a news conference Monday, Plante said the initiative comes in response to a public consultation held in 2019.

"We want to make sure that the industry produces and distributes the right amount of … materials instead of just creating more and more waste," she said.

Currently, some 800,000 unsolicited circulars are printed weekly and distributed across the city, she said.

Mayor Valérie Plante said the city will establish a financial assistance program to support local newspapers during the transition period. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

According to Plante, flyers and other printed advertisement represent 10 per cent of all recycled material at the Lachine sorting centre.

"Yes, we have to recycle, but we need to reduce at the source," she said.

Flyers will no longer be distributed in plastic bags or any other packaging that prevents them from being recycled immediately.

Marie-Andrée Mauger, head of ecological transition and the environment on the executive committee, said the Bureau d'Audiences Publiques sur l'Environnement (BAPE) report released in January shows Montrealers need to change their habits to achieve climate goals.

"We know that moving toward a subscription option for distributing circulars can shake up our habits a little but it is the thing to do," she said.

Support for local media

Making flyers optional could hurt local newspapers, which depend on the distribution system to reach readers.

Plante said the city will establish a financial assistance program to support them during the transition period.

In the past year, Montreal created an advisory committee made up of industry representatives and chaired by Andrew Mulé, president and CEO of Métro media, which is providing recommendations to the city.

"[Local newspapers] are well aware that their model has to adapt and change," the mayor said.

"They've been in that thinking mode, so we decided to jump in, [and say,] 'how about we partner together?'"

Those interested in receiving circular at their home will be able to get a sticker at Accès Montréal offices and community group headquarters. More locations will be announced in the coming months.

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