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green@work : Magazine : Back Issues : Fall 2004 : Innovation


Curbside Appeal

Private and public sectors work hand-in-hand to increase recycling efforts.

The City of Boston and Prince George’s County, MD, recently launched unique campaigns with business and non-profit partners to increase recycling of magazines and catalogs. These first-of-their-kind partnerships include collaborative efforts by the National Recycling Coalition, Time Inc., International Paper and recyclers FCR in Boston and Recycle America Alliance in Prince George’s County to create a model for magazine and catalog recycling in cities across America.

Designed to inform residents that magazines and catalogs can easily be included with other paper recycling, the “Recycling Magazines is Excellent” campaign, or ReMix, will help divert magazines from landfills and provide an economic benefit for the city and the county.

“Recycling improves the environmental and economic health of Boston,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “The city gets paid for recycling paper products. So, the more our residents participate, the more the city benefits. It’s easy to recycle magazines and catalogs because we already accept both with our curbside recycling program. We are honored that the partnership has selected Boston for this program based on our comprehensive efforts to make recycling part of our everyday life.”

Jack Johnson, Prince George’s County executive, agreed. “The ReMix campaign reflects the goals of my Livable Communities Initiative—citizens and residents taking a vested interest in improving the environmental and economic health of the county by recycling,” he said.

“According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, about two million tons of magazines are produced each year in the United States, but only about 32 percent are recycled,” noted Kate Krebs, executive director of the National Recycling Coalition. “Our national research shows that Americans support recycling, but they are often uncertain about what can be recycled. That’s why it is so important for all of us—government agencies, leading companies and advocacy organizations—to work together to educate the public. ReMix is a wonderful example of how the public and private sectors can work hand-in-hand to increase recycling.”

For the ReMix partners, the environmental benefit was a key factor in the decision to sponsor the public awareness program.

“International Paper partnered with Time Inc. to research current trends in magazine recycling, and we discovered tremendous opportunity to divert used magazines and catalogs from landfills,” said David Struhs, International Paper’s vice president of environmental affairs. “When a joint study suggested that one out of six magazines sold gets recycled, we partnered with Time Inc. to develop this ReMix campaign to promote the ease and benefits of magazine and catalog recycling.”

Time Inc. director of sustainable development David Refkin said, “We’re excited to be part of this effort to promote and increase the recycling of magazines in Boston and Prince George’s County. This initiative ties into the primary goals of sustainable development—economic and environmental sustainability and social responsibility. The ReMix initiative to increase recycling of magazines reflects our editorial and business values and we are proud to be associated with this partnership.”

International Paper and Time Inc. joined with the National Recycling Coalition to research major U.S. cities’ recycling rates and infrastructures to determine the ideal location for the launch of the ReMix program. “Because Boston and Prince George’s County are known for their long-term, effective recycling programs, they were ideal places to launch the ReMix partnership,” said Krebs.

The partnership members developed public service advertisements to encourage curbside recycling of magazines and catalogs. The ads appear in various magazines, including TIME and Sports Illustrated, and specifically target residents in Boston and Prince George’s County as well as others in the Washington, DC, metro area. Boston and Prince George’s County also are promoting public awareness of magazine and catalog recycling through outreach activities to residents.

The partners will measure the recovery of magazines and catalogs throughout their local regions and will work to help residents conveniently recycle their used reading material into newspapers or other paper products.

International Paper, the National Recycling Coalition and Time Inc. will showcase the ReMix program as a model for other U.S. cities and towns. Currently, paper represents about 75 percent of the residential tonnage that is recycled by the City of Boston and the surrounding region, and 65 percent of the residential tonnage recycled by Prince George’s County. However, with magazines and catalogs making up less than six percent of that paper tonnage, the ReMix partners see a clear opportunity to create an exemplary program that other cities will want to emulate. The progress of the ReMix program will be presented in late August at the 23rd Annual National Recycling Coalition Congress and Exposition in San Francisco, CA.

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