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Environmental Protection & Preservation

DMA Encourages Catalog & Direct Mail Recycling

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has launched a major new initiative to encourage consumers to recycle catalogs and mixed paper. Beginning this summer, DMA member companies, which represent many of the country's leading brands, will be adding "Recycle Please" logos to their catalogs and direct mail pieces.

"While Americans are recycling more paper each year, the recycling rate for mixed paper remains well behind the recovery rates for other types of paper," said Patricia Kachura, DMA's senior vice president for ethics and consumer affairs. "We want to help make sure that number goes up. People know to recycle newspapers, but they may not be aware that catalogs, magazines, mail, and office paper should also go into the recycling bin in most communities."

DMA's new campaign, announced today at the Annual Conference for Catalog and Multichannel Merchants (ACCM) in Boston, provides DMA members with an easily recognizable "Recycle Please" logo to include on the catalogs and direct mail pieces they create. The logo also directs consumers to the Association's Web site, where they can find information, helpful tips, and resources on recycling.

DMA President & CEO John A. Greco, Jr. encouraged the Association's corporate and nonprofit members to embrace the new logo. "At the organizational level, marketers have a responsibility to consider environmental performance. But we also have a unique opportunity in that we interact directly with consumers on a daily basis, and can use that ability to let people know what they can do in their homes and businesses to help care for our environment."

"DMA's Recycle Please campaign is a great example of what can be achieved when government, businesses, and individuals work together to address problems and seek creative solutions," said Susan Bodine, assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. "We have made great strides in recycling over the past decade, but mixed paper is one area where we would like to see improvement. This effort by the marketing community to increase consumer awareness is an important step in the right direction."

Some facts about advertising mail and paper recycling:
  • The average US household gets 18.5 pieces of advertising mail per week, a figure that has held steady during the past five years. (US Postal Service, 2005 Household Diary Study)
  • Consumers do read their mail. According to the US Postal Service, 85 percent of US households usually read some or all of the advertising mail they receive. (US Postal Service, 2005 Household Diary Study)
  • Direct mail accounts for only 2.2 percent (in weight) of the total municipal solid waste generated in the US annually, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. That figure is likely to decline as greater strides are made in paper recovery and recycling.
  • As a society, we have made great strides during the past decade in using our resources more efficiently, increasing recycling efforts, and improving forest management. In fact, there is more forestland in America today than there was in 1900.
  • According to a recent survey by the American Forest & Paper Association, at least 66 percent of the US population has access to magazine recycling, and at least 61 percent has access to recycling for catalogs and mixed paper.
  • In 2006, a record 53.4 percent of the paper consumed in the US (53.5 million tons) was recovered for recycling. Paper recovery now averages nearly 360 pounds for each man, woman, and child in the US. (American Forest & Paper Association)
  • Recovered paper accounted for 36.6 percent of the US paper industry's fiber needs in 2005. However, US mills still do not have enough recycled content to meet current demands. (American Forest & Paper Association)
Rod Lowman, president of the Abundant Forests Alliance, praised the DMA initiative. "The paper and wood products industry is pleased to see DMA and its member companies stepping up to take a leadership role in promoting recycling. While U.S. forests remain abundant and growing, recycling is still a good way to stretch our forest resources. Promoting recycling is an important part of successful forest management and a great way for people to act today to help conserve our resources for tomorrow."

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