DMA: Data and Marketing Association
Consumer Help

‘RECYCLE PLEASE’ Participation is Easy and Profitable

What is DMA’s ‘Recycle Please’ Campaign?

The Data & Marketing Association’s “Recycle Please” campaign is a nationwide public education campaign that asks DMA members to display prominently the “Recycle Please” Logo in their catalogs and direct mail pieces to encourage consumers to recycle mail once they are through reading and using it.
Through this campaign, DMA intends to overcome a lack of public awareness that catalogs, magazines and mixed paper can be recycled, increasing the recovery/recycling rate of used catalogs, magazines and direct mail in the U.S. The campaign supports the DMA's Board of Directors’ second “green goal” to support increased recycling collection in support of global markets for recovered fiber, and to increased production of papers with recycled content.

Furthermore, the campaign also seeks to increase awareness that electronic communication has a waste impact and recycling need as well – in the breadth of computers, mobile telephones and equipment used to support email, search, social media and Internet marketing & commerce.

Why Participate?

DMA’s Second ’Green Goal’ – A Goal for Our Business”

In 2012, the DMA Board of Directors approved a second environmental performance goal for the direct marketing community – that to support recovery of discarded mail, catalogs, magazines and paper packaging so that it may be diverted from landfills and incineration where feasible and its fiber reused for new purposes, among them the manufacture of papers and packaging made from recovered fiber. By supporting domestic fiber recovery in the United States, the direct marketing field serves to support global markets for wood fibers and paper, and, potentially, to increase access and availability to products derived from subsequent remanufacturing, and help to decrease pricing pressures for recovered fiber. While source reduction (data management, reduced trim sizes on printed materials, reduced basis weights for paper) is an important part of marketers’ efforts to reduce waste and bolster profitability, by supporting recycling collection, too, we can give our printed products and communications after their initial use a valuable second life.

The “Recycle Please” logo effort is vital in helping to accomplish increased recovery and collection. To make our goal attainable, marketers must reach out to consumers who are the end-users of paper & print communications and packaging with “Recycle Please” messaging. With most American households and communities – more than eight in ten – now having access to curbside and drop-off recycling centers locally, the infrastructure exists to support greater recovery, collection and recycling. The key is to inform and persuade more consumers to recycle, and to do so more consistently. Recovery rates for mixed paper still lag that of newsprint. By bolstering communication and using the DMA’s Recycle Please logo, it’s possible to get more consumers on board, and get more productive in our use of recovered fiber – and that’s good for business.

Get Involved: How to Participate?

In order to participate, you must be a DMA member and notify DMA of your intention to participate. Please complete the “Recycle Please” sign-up form and email it to environment@thedma.org.

Your support of this campaign primarily entails:

  • Displaying the “Recycle Please” logo wherever feasible on your catalogs, direct mail pieces, and paper packaging that can be recycled and driving consumers and businesses to the “Recycle Please” website.

You can further support this campaign by:

  • Publicly endorsing the campaign by allowing DMA to list you as a supporter and/or supplying a quote to DMA that demonstrates your commitment to this campaign
  • Promoting the “Recycle Please” campaign through your normal outreach to business employees and colleagues, clients, suppliers, schools and/or other groups in your local community
    • Click here for a standard press release that you can tailor to spread the word about this campaign and your commitment.
  • Sharing examples of your logo use with DMA – so we may recognize your company or organization publicly as a campaign participant. You may choose to do so by using this downloadable form.
    For other questions on how to participate, please email environment@thedma.org

Are There Impediments To Recycling?

Certain types of adhesives may impede the recycling process because they tend to form very small particles (“stickies”) that adhere to production equipment and are difficult to remove through the screening and other physical processing methods employed in pulp mills. Examples of potentially problematic adhesives are polyvinyl acetate (PVA), acrylic polymers, polystyrene polymers (such as styrene butadiene rubber), and hot melt adhesives (thermoplastics). Alternatively, consider using water-soluble substitutes that utilize starch, dextrins, gums, and cellulose (polycel); offer comparable performance characteristics; and do not interfere with downstream paper fiber recovery operations.

Some ink formulations and colors can be problematic because they are difficult to break up and remove in the repulping process. Of particular concern are certain bright red, orange, and “day-glow” types of inks, which reportedly are difficult to remove from repulped recovered paper.

The presence of CDs, samples, or other non-paper inserts may make it harder to recycle them as the recycling processor may have to remove the non-paper inserts first.

As a best practice, DMA encourages its members to:

  • discontinue or decrease use of materials and packaging that may limit the recyclability of their products
  • work with designers of samples and inserts to ensure they can be easily detached from the catalogs, magazines and direct mail pieces
  • instruct consumers to remove any unrecyclable inserts from catalogs, magazines and direct mail pieces before recycling them

What Happens To Catalogs & Direct Mail That Are Recycled?

Old magazines, catalogs, and direct mail, as well as the envelopes they may be delivered in, are currently recovered and used to make newsprint, tissue, container/box board, and even some printing and writing paper at numerous mills throughout the country. Recovered paper (also referred to as paper fiber) is graded, bought, and sold in regional, national, and global markets. The United States is by far the leading source of recovered fiber in the world, and recovery rates in the U.S. now approach 70 percent.

Old catalogs and magazines are valuable to producers of recycled-content newsprint because they help to de-ink (or remove ink from) recovered newspaper. They also contain fiber and clay coatings that can impart improved brightness and a smoother texture to certain components of multi-ply box and liner board.

What About Recycling Electronics?

Smart marketers use electronic media as another relevant communication channel for connecting with customers. Businesse and nonprofits need to know the facts about recycling the growing number of electronic devices that power today’s digital marketing

Digital communications has an environmental and solid waste impact. The nation’s power grid that supports digital commerce is a current public health concern (NY Times Article) due to air and water pollution from fossil power plants.

Furthermore, the safe manufacture and end-of-life handling of computers, smartphones, printers, cartridges and other digital and electrical equipment is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) priority (eCycling) Known hazardous materials, and highly valuable precious metals, are part of many computers and mobile devices today.

Do not put electronic devices or batteries of any kind into regular trash bins. Contact your local municipal waste authority, visit Earth911.com, EPA or find a certified electronics recycler in your area through the links below. Organizations should set up on-site e-waste colection points and educate employees on proper disposal practices.

To learn where and how to responsibly recycle computer, batteries, TVs, enterprise and personal electronic devices, visit these links

Make sure the recycling option you selected is certified by a third-party designation such as eStewards or R2. Certifications ensure that toxic components of electronics are handled properly (not exported to developing countries, burned, or dumped). Contact your IT administrator, Chief Sustainability Officer or Chief Executive Officer to ensure your organization’s e-waste policies and practices are adequate to protect people and the environment.

General Recycling Resources for Businesses

American Forest & Product Association (AF&PA)

Earth 911 - Contains information for consumers on a variety of topics such as air pollution prevention, recycling, global warming, and water pollution & conservation. Enter your zip code to search for recycling and reuse services in your community.

EPA WasteWi$e Program

GreenBlue and Paper Life Cycle

Keep America Beautiful

National Recycling Coalition (NRC)

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