The Recycling Mix

MAGAZINE RECYCLING could be coming to a city near you, thanks to a new campaign sponsored by the National Recycling Coalition, Washington, D.C.; International Paper, Stamford, Conn.; Time Inc., New York; and Casella Waste Systems Inc.-subsidiary FCR Inc., Rutland, Vt. The city of Boston and Prince George's County, Md., are the first to launch the magazine and catalog recycling effort, dubbed “Recycling Magazines is Excellent,” or ReMix.

To increase magazine recycling, the partners are informing Boston residents that magazines and catalogs can be diverted from landfills by including the materials with other paper recycling. Public service advertisements also are encouraging increased curbside recycling of the materials. And, ads are being placed in Boston editions of magazines such as TIME and Sports Illustrated.

According to Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, the city is an ideal candidate for the ReMix program because of its current recycling efforts. “It's easy to recycling magazines and catalogs because we already accept both with our curbside recycling program,” he says. “We are honored that the partnership selected Boston … based on our comprehensive efforts to make recycling part of our everyday life.”

Statistics indicate that paper represents approximately 75 percent of residential recycling tonnage in Boston and its surrounding areas. However, magazines and catalogues represent less than 6 percent of the overall paper tonnage.

While it's too early to measure Boston's progress, the city has seen an increase in paper tonnage, but that also includes mixed paper. “It's too early to tell if the increase is attributed to the campaign, but it's always a good sign that tonnage is up,” says Susan Cascino, director of recycling for the city of Boston. “We're going to do an actual calculation of progress three times during the campaign.”

While progress currently is unmeasured, the effort has been good.

“Magazines historically have been a difficult grade of paper to recycle … but what we are seeing are improved recycling techniques and an attempt by some key players to raise the magazine recycling rate,” says Chaz Miller, director of state programs for the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Industry Associations, of the campaign. “I think this is a good model for how to focus attention on a particular recyclable.” Miller says.

Progress of the Boston and Prince George's County programs will be measured and then presented at the NRC Congress in August.