Read All about It

By Macauley, Catherine | E Magazine, November 1998 | Go to article overview

Read All about It


Macauley, Catherine, E Magazine


Talk about win-win: Two grassroots groups, one in Washington and the other in North Carolina, have found ways to channel magazine waste and help community literacy and social programs at the same time. By collecting unsold magazines and putting them into the hands of new readers, paper once destined for the shredder or dumpster is being given a second life in the public mainstream.

Working with a Seattle magazine distributor called Small Changes, Tim Bernthal of Magazines A Gain used a $14,000 waste reduction grant from Seattle Public Utilities to create a program that re-uses and distributes nearly 4,000 magazines a month to more than 40 Seattle-area organizations.

"It's a very doable idea," says Bernthal. "The first step is to find a magazine distributor who is willing to perform a community service. If you can get that done, you can start small and make the connection with the end users."

The genesis of the project was four years ago, when David Spiekerman of Small Changes decided that newsstand returns could be put to better use. Approximately 60 percent of all magazines displayed on newsstands go unsold, and are often discarded In an effort to find recipients for his company's unused periodicals, Spiekerman began contacting area schools and social centers.

What started out as the byproduct of one man's social conscience has been expanded into a community service project that distributes more than 50,000 unsold magazines each year to school groups, literacy programs and food banks. …

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