Law submitted which hopes to reduce the flood of junk mail in Switzerland
A national councillor for the Green Liberal Party has submitted a new law that would change the rules on junk mail from “opt-out” to “opt-in.” Katja Christ argued that most printed advertising that arrives through the post is never read and is a massive waste of resources.
New law hopes to make junk mail consensual in Switzerland
Currently, those who want to avoid receiving junk mail have to put a “Stop Advertising” (Stopp Werbung, Pas de Publicité) sticker on their letterbox. According to SRF, 60 percent of households in Switzerland have a “no advertising” sticker.
The new plan, submitted by Katja Christ, is for the system to switch from opt-out to opt-in - where junk mail is only delivered to you if you have given consent through a message on your letterbox. Speaking to SRF, the representative for Basel noted that junk advertising pollutes the environment: "Investigations have shown that more than half of unaddressed commercials are not even looked at, but end up directly in the garbage."
Consent-based junk mail already a success in Amsterdam
Her position was echoed by the Consumer Protection Foundation, with Food, Mobility and Print head Josianne Walpen highlighting that consent is already required for ads on the internet and on mobile phones, and that it would make sense to extend the policy to print.
Walpen said that the idea has already worked in cities like Amsterdam, which switched to an opt-in system in 2018. Current data from the Dutch capital has revealed that the policy has saved around 34 kilograms of waste paper per household so far.
Swiss postal service and unions warn of job losses because of junk mail
However, not everyone is on board with the change in the law, with the Transfair staff association arguing that the current system already works well. Spokesperson Kerstin Büchel said that 4.000 people may lose their jobs if the policy passes, particularly those on part-time work contracts who rely on sending junk mail for extra income.
Swiss Post echoed these warnings, noting that up to 1.000 jobs could be at risk at the company if the law is changed. In a statement given to SRF. the postal service said that junk mail was essential for its financial stability as the number of people sending letters has declined significantly in the past few decades - half of all letters sent in Switzerland are now junk advertising.
Christ’s proposal was accepted by the National Council by 96 votes to 85. The idea will now be sent to the Council of States and Federal Council for approval.