New EPA Data Shows Mail Recycling Humming Along
For newspapers/mechanical papers (which include commercial printing papers such as direct mail and catalogs), the recovery rate reported in 2013 was 67 percent. In 2009, as much as 63.4 percent of discarded advertising mail and catalog had been recovered – but since 2010 recovery data for discarded mail has been rolled into the “newspaper/mechanical papers” category. For all paper and paperboard categories, 48.7 percent was recovered, and just 1.6 percent was landfilled. So we appear to be holding our own in recovery – and keeping fiber out of the dump.
As an aside, three categories of MSW did report growth in recovery in 2013: yard trimmings, consumer electronics and food – a direct reflection of the increase in composting (both residentially and at the municipal level), as well as manufacturer take-back programs and local electronics recycling collection efforts. The EPA report also states that the U.S. Postal Service is now instituting bulk mail recycling (lobbies and undeliverable bulk business mail) and that is helping to bolster recovery figures.
What’s our takeaway as marketers?
First, print marketers need to keep pushing consumers to recycle their mail, magazines and catalogs – after they’re done with them. The Direct Marketing Association “Recycle Please” and MPA | The Association of Magazine Media “Please Recycle” are two programs that encourage consumers to keep discarded papers out of the trash.
Second, just because you are digital, doesn’t get you off the hook for recycling. In fact, the EPA has consumer electronics recycling as a top priority – and smartphones, tablets, laptops, computers and other vehicles for digital advertising need to be recaptured. The DMA offers e-recycling data on its Recycle Please Web site as well.
So keep recycling America – read, respond and recycle that direct mail!
Marketing Sustainably: A blog posting questions, opportunities, concerns and observations on sustainability in marketing.
Chet Dalzell has 25 years of public relations management and expertise in service to leading brands in consumer, donor, patient and business-to-business markets, and in the field of integrated direct marketing. He serves on the Direct Marketing Association International ECHO Awards Board of Governors, as an adviser to the Direct Marketing Club of New York and Marketing Idea eXchange, and is senior director, communications and industry relations, with the Digital Advertising Alliance. Chet loves UConn Basketball (men's and women's) and Nebraska Football (that's just men, at this point), too!