Check the facts

Tons of paper and oceans of plastic because of junk mail? Wrong! Read on to find out why this is not true.
The printing and paper industry is often confronted with allegations that are not based on facts but on bias. The reality is: the industry operates factually. In this section, we counter dubious claims with well-founded facts.
Symbolfoto: Ein Mann und eine Frau führen ein Gespräch

Rethinking Common Preconceptions

We say: Incorrect! Advertising and information door drops are mainly printed on waste paper. In the paper industry, the use rate of waste paper was 78% in 2019.1 According to TU Darmstadt, paper fibers can be recycled up to 10 times. The stem wood of mature trees is too valuable and too expensive for the paper and printing industry. It is mainly used for houses and furniture. Fresh fibers for paper come mainly from forest scrap wood and sawmill waste. When plastic is involved, perforated film is used, which is separated from the paper in the recycling process and also properly recycled. The amount of water used to produce the door drops that one household receives in a year is equivalent to one minute of handwashing per household per year.2 The energy used to produce advertising and information mail that a household receives in a year is equivalent to around four liters of heating oil.3
  1. Bifa Environmental Institute 2020
  2. vdp/bvdm-Umweltkennzahlen Offsetdruck;
    Water Practice, a practical guide to saving water
  3. vdp/bvdm environmental indicators offset printing;
We say: Incorrect! Depositing door drops are in hallways are isolated cases: Publishers hire agencies to check the quality of delivery. Delivery staff is also trained accordingly. In the event of violations – if advertising mail ends up in the mailbox despite “No advertising” stickers – citizens can contact the consumer advice centers.
We say: Incorrect! According to a study conducted in 2020 by IFH Cologne, 94% of recipients of door drops read them occasionally, and 75% even read them weekly.1 According to our Civey survey, people aged 65 and over in particular frequently read advertising and information mail, as it provides valuable support for their shopping planning.2 Because of its social benefits, door drops are a relevant source of information for all citizens in cities and municipalities.
  1. FH Cologne in cooperation with MEDIA Central, “The Prospectus as Brand Ambassador.” 2020, S. 6
  2. Representative Civey survey, 2021
We say: Incorrect! Since Amsterdam does not have a paper recycling system (Blue Bin), in contrast to Germany, the comparison is flawed. Amsterdam had a waste separation problem that never existed in Germany. The city has therefore solved a problem that we do not have. Advertising and information mail is mainly made from waste paper, which can be recycled up to around 10 times. Waste paper is therefore not waste, but an important resource from which books, newspapers, brochures, writing pads, copying paper, wallpaper, packaging material or even sanitary paper are made.1
  1. TU Darmstadt, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Samuel Schabel, Department of Paper Milling and Mechanical Process Engineering
We say: Incorrect! Unaddressed advertising mail can be consumed passively due to the proven opt-out system, but digital offers must be actively sought out. Therefore, printed door drops prevent local information gaps. If there were a switch to an opt-in regulation or even purely digital solutions, many people, especially those with limited access to digital devices (for example, the elderly), would be cut off from important information in their immediate environment. According to our survey conducted with Civey, 85 % of the population therefore prefer printed rather than digital advertising mail.1 There is also a majority consensus among advertisers: 72 % say that advertising mail in the letterbox is essential, and they would therefore not switch to digital advertising if there were an opt-in regulation.2 In addition, non-profit groups such as churches, clubs and educational institutions would lose a central distribution channel for their information if they were to switch to opt-in. This is because they often lack the financial resources and access to recipients to draw attention to themselves and their campaigns using digital channels. In food retailing (LEH), the printed leaflet is the leading medium in the media mix, with an advertising budget share of a good 50%. 70% of the marketing managers surveyed in LEH also consider the brochure to be indispensable in the future, because it is effective, has a wide reach, and can showcase a comprehensive product range at a glance.3

1,2 Representative Civey survey, 2021
3 EHI study Stationary Retail Germany 2021

We say: Incorrect!

In the Civey survey, 75 % of households say they are satisfied with the existing opt-out system. This specifies that all citizens receive advertising and information mail on a voluntary basis. Those who do not wish to do so can easily reject delivery with a “”No advertising, please”” sticker on their mailbox.1

In online shopping in particular, impulse purchases are more prevalent – the product is often just a click away. Advertising mail, on the other hand, provides guidance and offers opportunities for comparison in an overabundant consumer world. Doordrops provide information about special offers and promotions, enabling consumers to make targeted purchases in the store – thereby saving money and time.

  1. Representative Civey survey, 2021

Our factsheet

Here you can read the most important facts about our initiative at a glance.

Further questions?

Please feel free to contact us. We look forward to receiving your enquiry. For all questions and concerns, you can contact us by phone, mail or e-mail.

Bundesverband Druck und Medien e. V.
Markgrafenstrasse 15
10969 Berlin

Previewimage of the document "Factsheet"