Fiction, but not pulp - 720,000 recycling leaflets

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The Independent Online

A city council printed 720,000 copies of a leaflet praising its residents' recycling - but used the wrong picture on the cover.

Instead of Birmingam UK, the leaflet wrongly used a picture showing the skyline of Birmingham, Alabama.

In the apparent hope of maintaining its environmental credentials (although there have been queries about the need for the leaflets in the first place), the City Council today pledged to continue to distribute the leaflet despite the mistake.

The local authority, which has been ridiculed for the blunder on both sides of the Atlantic, also acknowledged that 720,000 copies of the leaflet had been printed before anyone noticed that an image of the wrong city had been used.

When the mistake was pointed out, officials initially insisted they had not made an error, but had used a "generic skyline" intended to symbolise an urban area.

The city council has now conceded that the "wrong photo" - showing office blocks in the American city - was printed on the leaflet, which is still being sent out to householders.

Urging residents to recycle the mailshot once they have read it, a city council spokesman said: "Birmingham is immensely proud of its recycling record and this leaflet has helped to get the recycling message across to thousands of our enthusiastic citizens.

"We accept that the wrong photo was used, but the text and detail contained in the leaflet is wholly correct, which is the most important message.

"No leaflets are being pulped - there is no reason to pull the leaflet as the information on it is accurate and that's what's important."

It is understood that just one complaint about the gaffe has been received by the city council, which began issuing the first print-run of 360,000 leaflets 15 months ago.

Birmingham resident Jon Cooper, who spotted the error, said he had instantly recognised the skyline of Birmingham, Alabama, as he is a regular visitor to the United States.

"I would have thought the council would take more care," the 37-year-old said. "I can't believe no-one at the town hall noticed."