SuperMax supermarkets in Puerto Rico are launching a pilot program that rewards consumers with coupons when they recycle magazines, newspapers and catalogs at interactive kiosks in three store locations.
The REMAG program gives consumers instant coupons of their choice from a variety of product categories. Customers also select their favorite local charity or non-profit organization to receive a donation for each printed coupon paid for by REMAG.
REMAG is an organization that aims to build awareness of the need to recycle and to help increase recycling rates in communities where recycling is far below the norm. The group believes that by offering savings rewards, donations to local nonprofits, and highlighting its importance for the local community it will encourage greater recycling.
SuperMax Puerto Rico president, José Revuelta, said the company is always looking for ways to help the community as well as improve its stores’ capabilities, and the REMAG program helps do that. SuperMax is able to encourage shoppers to spend more by offering over $120 worth of savings in the more than 150 coupons that are available for consumers in the kiosk. When consumers bring their magazines, catalogs, or newspapers to the REMAG kiosk, they scan the item, select the charity to receive the donation, and select coupons of choice. Four coupons are given for each recycled item.
REMAG says its growing list of partners including the Environmental Protection Agency, Green America, Puerto Rico Recycling Partnership, Procter & Gamble, Kellogg’s, General Mills, Healthy Choice, Nestle, Kraft, Unilever, and Colgate/Palmolive.
Laura Thompson, director of sustainable development for Sappi Fine Paper, wrote in an article for Environmental Leader last year that, 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. But, she wrote, magazines and catalogs are fully recyclable and the vast majority of people in the US have access to recycling facilities.
Unfortunately, Thompson says, there is still confusion about the recyclability of products made with coated papers. Some confusion may stem from history – there was a time that people were taught not to recycle “glossy” papers and some of that stigma remains today. Thompson believes the REMAG program will serve to help re-educate people about the recyclability of magazines and catalogs.