This method of advertisement is still being used in multiple places, with more intensity in concrete parts of the year when the consumer rate is higher. In the conventional mailbox, entire magazines with products, prices and promotions reaching even hundreds of single pages for the purpose.
There are laws and manners about the Internet activity of unsolicited mails but in the case of usual promotional leaflets it seems that there are difficulties to see the act as extremely irresponsible with the environment, furthermore in the contemporary day with too many related problems that cause health issues and more overall insecurity for everyone.
Recycled paper could be seen by consumers (unaware of their own habitat problems, perhaps) as a fault of presentation. Some companies try to present a responsible face but at the same time they proceed with options that aren't precisely green nor sustainable as the promotional leaflet made of paper, with quality materials and inks, like the brand “feeling”.
Recently a German chain of supermarkets did insert in their promotional efforts a great innovation. They focus Internet and the ability of each user to search what wants without receiving unsolicited promotions. That style, ideally complemented with downloadable brochures has numerous benefits and it permits to develop interactive catalogs —as they did this winter— with animations, videos, interactive buttons and an amazing form of alive magazine with products and prices that their customers will love it and without losing a single resource for creating paper.
Maybe in a developed world, with international network in every home and interconnected mobile technology, it would be possible to avoid in some areas, entirely, the use of paper. But in the meantime, it's time for condemning those actions that lead to unsustainability and might disappear, singularly when others are proving it.