'Recycle as You Shop'

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As a nation, we’ve become fairly accustomed to recycling our newspapers. In fact, we recycle them at an approximate rate of 75 percent (a passing grade).

Catalogs, magazines, phone books and other paper sources, on the other hand, are a much different story. Approximately 80 percent of catalogs and magazines are landfilled each year, along with an estimated 660,000 tons of phone books (definitely a failing grade).

One program hopes to change those statistics and make more forms of paper recycling accessible to small businesses and consumers. Recycle as You Shop (RAYS) is a partnership between leading business-to-business and consumer organizations working together to increase paper recycling rates among consumers and business professionals. The program offers incentives for bringing paper recyclables to participating Maryland Office Depot stores.

Every ton of paper recycled saves more than 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space.

Every ton of paper recycled saves more than 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space.

Collaborations like the RAYS program are crucial as they provide incentives, education, and opportunities for consumers to practice environmental stewardship,” said Donna Harman, president and CEO of American Forest & Paper Association.

Launched regionally in Maryland, the program will likely expand to other states in 2009. One bag or more of paper recyclables will earn you a $10 coupon for your next store purchase. Acceptable items for drop-off include:

  • Catalogs
  • Magazines
  • Phone books
  • Retail inserts
  • Brochures
  • Newspapers
  • Office paper
  • Letters
  • Envelopes
  • File folders
  • Flattened boxes.

Paper recylables can be dropped in the green “Don’t Come In Empty-Handed” bins at participating Office Depot locations, where they will be recycled by Waste Management.

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