One man’s trash is still, well, everyone’s trash


Since Last November, Richard Lee Sparks has been collecting those yellow bags you get on your porch every week.

As of now, he has a whole garbage can filled with them.

Stuffed inside the bag is a shopper guide that most people throw away without even looking at. Multiply the bags distributed in the city and “you get an environmental disaster,” Sparks said.

Sparks wants to see the door-to-door delivery of shoppers stopped and has asked the City Council to adopt a law to prevent the distribution of handbills.

“These unsolicited flyers and the act of distributing them has become nothing short of littering, (and) are a grave indication of residential vacancy, and is a continuous wasting of valuable resources,” Sparks said in a recent letter he submitted to the council.

On a windy day, many of the flyers end up on the streets and into lots.

But what might prevent the adoption of a law to stop the distribution of flyers is our constitutional right to Freedom of Speech.

Sparks, who is a member of the city’s recycling committee, conceded that could be a hurdle, but he stressed the flyers have crossed a line from protected speech to just being a commercial enterprise. He said he will work with the city manager to hammer out an ordinance and hopes to have a law adopted within the next few months.

3 Responses to One man’s trash is still, well, everyone’s trash

  1. john r

    June 1, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    First, i hope these distributors need to buy a permit and maybe wear some form of visible i.d. so that the code inforcement officer that drives around can verify that they are licenced. Next, as a home-owner i would gladly pay 5-10 dollars for some kind of sticker to put on my door to indicate that i do not want any solicitations. Geez, i would pay for the empty houses around me, since i pick-up the papers anyway. If a distributor delivers to a marked house they can be fined. Maybe the home owner even needs to get a picture of the act of delivery to prove it, but the fine must be high enough that the company wouldn’t take the chance that i would be sitting in my window with a camera.

  2. Roger

    June 11, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    “continuous wasting of valuable resources,” plastic? employed handbill distributers? your patience? what exactly is the resource wasted? a good portion of newsprint used in the fliers is recyled paper, plastic bags are in steady supply (and now we all know how to recycle them properly) and having one more paid employee in the city is a good thing.

    Mind you i’ve considered putting a handbill container by the mailbox so they know where to stick them instead of the porch, but I enjoy getting the weekly ads from A&C, of course I dont care about Krown foods which is in detroit, and I dont need my ducts cleaned every week (does anyone in hamtramck even have forced air heating?) mind you Little caesars coupons are worthless cause the only thing i get there is the $5 hot n ready.

    I’m sure if everyone agreed on something like a handbill container or a “no handbills” sign then they would respect our request. Might take some time to adjust but it would work.

  3. Emily W.

    December 16, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Noooooo!!! That is lode-bearing Hamtramck Garbage!! If we get rid of handbills, what’s next? No more diapers in the alleys?! No more empty whip-it cannisters in the streets? No more constantly-revolving museum of euphermera on my lawn? Eek!!!

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