Unique, clay-coated paper makes magazines difficult to recycle.

Most magazines are printed on coated, ground wood paper, which is the same kind of paper used by newspapers. Clay, the most common coating, smooths the surface of the paper and allows glossy inks to adhere. A two-sided coated paper sheet used for magazines will normally contain 30 to 35 percent clay and filler and 65 to 70 percent paper fiber.

About 19,500 different magazines were published in 2006. Almost 370 million copies were sold that year according to Audit Bureau data. The total number of magazines printed was higher. Approximately 74 percent of all magazines go to subscribers, 11 percent are single-issue sales and 15 percent are returned unsold. Nearly half of the single-issue sales occur in supermarkets.

Catalogs also are primarily printed on coated, ground wood paper. Most catalogs are distributed through the mail. Nineteen billion catalogs were mailed in 2007, a one-third increase in a decade. EPA solid waste data for magazines does not include catalogs, which are normally collected with magazines in curbside recycling programs. All data in this profile is limited to magazines unless otherwise noted.

Chaz Miller is state programs director for the National Solid Wastes Management Association, Washing ton. E-mail him at: [email protected].

TAGS: Paper Business