In case you missed it, this past Sunday was America Recycles Day. This nationally recognized day is part of an effort to educate Americans about recycling and motivate them to make it a year-long practice. This is a wonderful cause for individuals, and at IWCO Direct we are doing our part at a corporate level to increase recycling efforts and reduce our impact on the environment.
One of the most impactful ways we do this is by recycling paper and the associated products from direct mail production. It’s important not to underestimate the environmentally friendly nature of responsibly sourced paper. It’s made from a natural resource that is renewable, recyclable and compostable. According to Two Sides, paper is the most recycled material in the world today.
As a leader in paper-based communications, IWCO Direct takes our environmental stewardship responsibilities very seriously. In fact, we recycle all paper waste, waste from plastic card production, and used lithographic printing plates. In 2014, we recycled:
- 20,731 tons of paper;
- 430 tons of mixed plastics;
- 50,887 wooden pallets;
- 1,624 tons of corrugated cardboard;
- 83 tons of metal including aluminum in the form of used printing plates;
- 3,252 fluorescent lamps.
For the last several years, IWCO Direct has been recognized by Pioneer Industries for our recycling efforts. They calculate the amount of trees, water, electricity and oil our recycling efforts have saved. In 2014, the all-inclusive efforts across our national platform saved:
- 351,874 trees
- 144,866,000 gallons of water
- 82,792,000 kilowatt hours of electricity
- 1,738,632 gallons of oil
Sustainability Requires a Team Approach
Another key component of our efforts is partnering with clients and suppliers to bring environmental stewardship to the forefront and identify opportunities to improve the environmental qualities of all materials being used for marketing. This includes working with our suppliers to develop – and our clients to use – new rPETG plastic cards which are made up of at least 50% recycled material. At our Supplier Summit in September, we shared our sustainability goals with our suppliers and challenged them with helping us meet those goals. We asked our suppliers to support us with:
- Feedback and suggestions to support sustainability
- Shared commitment to minimize environmental risk
- Identification of eco-friendly products and solutions
We are currently in the process of reviewing our sustainability policies and procedures. Our updated environmental policy is available through the Sustainability page of our website. We are also working to establish an in-house environmental council to provide ongoing leadership for our sustainability efforts.
Reusing, Not Just Recycling
Our sustainability efforts don’t just focus on the recycling of paper, but the reuse of it as well. IWCO Direct continues to participate in the annual Print Industry Midwest’s surplus paper drive. This event provides much needed supplies to support printing, graphic arts, and art classes. PIM’s 2015 event had around 200 teachers/participants. Member participation saves print and art programs for thousands of students every year!
We hope America Recycles Day reinforced your commitment to recycling at your household. It’s a wonderful cause and something every one of us can get behind. But as Two Sides reminds us, the paper industry’s recovery goal is 70% by 2020, so while we still have a ways to go, it’s reassuring to know great progress is being made for this practical, sustainable and effective communications medium.
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