OMG! California firsts and the recycling benefits of REMAG explained further Go

Home to nearly one eighth of the US population, it is not uncommon to see things happen first in California.  The state is known as a primary producer of grapes and there are more turkeys raised in California than any other state.  In 1947, a young woman named Norma Jean was named as the first artichoke queen in Castroville, CA.

Perhaps 2012 will be recorded as part of the state’s history for hosting the inaugural trials of the REMAG kiosks.   An innovative, new reverse vending system, REMAG is slated for trials at eight supermarket locations in the Bay Area and Central Valley.   The concept is pretty straight forward: using a kiosk system, users can redeem magazines and catalogs for rewards.

Last week, a blogger for Target Marketing, shared his thoughts on the wide variety of benefits of this program for various stakeholders including consumers, retailers, catalogers and publishers and the scrap recycling industry.  Herein I offer a few more comments on the recycling benefits.

While paper continues to be recovered for recycling at rates significantly higher than other materials (66.8% in 2011) the industry still faces many challenges and opportunities.  In particular, printing and writing grades tend to lag behind newsprint and old corrugated containers.  And - as far as I’m concerned – for no good reason.  Magazines and catalogs are fully recyclable and the vast majority of people in the US have access to recycling facilities.  I am convinced that through continued education, reminders about recycling – and now with additional incentives – consumers will learn to recycle even more paper products 

Unfortunately, there is still confusion about the recyclability of products made with coated papers.  Perhaps some confusion stems from history – there was a time that many of us were taught not to recycle “glossy” papers and some of that stigma remains today.  This is one of the reasons I am so passionate about the use of “please recycle” claims and logos on printed piecesAnd it’s one of the reasons that I’m excited about REMAG:  The program will serve to help re-educate people about the recyclability of magazines and catalogs. 

For papermakers across many segments, getting fiber of good quality is a growing challenge – in great part because of continued growth of municipal systems where everything recyclable goes in the same bin (known as single stream recycling).  But REMAG has the potential to help.  Better separation helps recycled fiber maintain a higher value to the market.  While many people simply think of waste paper as “one thing” – there are actually multiple grades destined for multiple uses.   (I just counted 51 different grades of paper listed at scrapindex.com)  

For those active in social media, OMG, conveys a sense of excitement.  For those in the scrap industry, OMG is Old Magazine Grades – also worthy of excitement as it has higher value than mixed papers.

OMG.  I am so totally rooting for REMAG. 

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