Containing the flier problem

The depository boxes are left in the letter boxes and are assembled by the residents themselves.
The depository boxes are left in the letter boxes and are assembled by the residents themselves.PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Boxes provided by two town councils prevent leaflets from being left everywhere

Advertising fliers stuffed in gate hinges or pushed under doors are a common phenomenon in many Housing Board blocks.

Two town councils, however, have helped their residents to deal with such fliers.

They have issued boxes that are hung on the gates of the flats, providing a place for advertisers to deposit their fliers.

Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council pioneered the idea after feedback from residents about fliers stuck in their door sills or strewn along common corridors.

"We noticed that some residents solved the problem by hanging a plastic container or basket on their gate to collect these fliers," said spokesman Regina Ang.

  • The flattened boxes are left in residents' letter boxes, and are assembled and attached by the residents themselves.

So the town council decided to provide a few hundred containers to residents in a 2011 pilot project.

"During the pilot, we received positive feedback and many requests from residents for such a 'depository box'," said Ms Ang.

The town council decided then to provide a flier box to every HDB household under its care.

The flattened boxes are left in residents' letter-boxes, and are assembled and attached by the residents themselves.

Resident Daniel Cheok, a retiree in his 70s, is one of those who uses the box to collect fliers.

"When the box gets filled, I can just throw all of them away at once," he said.

Another resident, who wanted to be known only as Mr Lee, has had the box for over a year and finds the idea useful. "(Advertisers) used to just chuck the leaflets everywhere," said the 52-year-old technical support officer.

The Pasir Ris-Punggol example caught the attention of Nee Soon Town Council, which also introduced flier boxes to more than 65,000 households last year.

This was part of its Gracious Living Campaign, which was aimed at reducing litter.

Both residents and town council cleaners have found the boxes useful, said town council spokesman Bernard Zhang.

He added: "In particular, our elderly residents appreciate it as some fliers slipped underneath their doors can pose a safety hazard especially if they are smooth and slippery." Feedback, on the whole, has been positive, with only one concern being raised among residents: That having such boxes could encourage even more fliers to be distributed.

But the town council's view is that advertisers will distribute fliers whether or not the boxes are there, said Mr Zhang.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 09, 2015, with the headline 'Containing the flier problem'. Print Edition | Subscribe