Once you’ve clipped all the coupons you need from your magazines and newspapers (and perhaps you’ve even read them, too!), what use are the rest? Perfectly good coupons that you just don’t happen to need, are going right into the recycle bin. But now there’s a better way. You can turn those unwanted coupons – in addition to the magazines and newspapers in which they came – into brand new coupons that you actually want to use.

If it sounds like some kind of coupon swap, or magic trick, it’s not. It’s a new recycling program that rewards you for parting with your periodicals – by giving you coupons for them.

REMAG is the newest entry in a growing category of companies that aim to reward you for recycling. It officially launched last week, unveiling its first recycling kiosks in three supermarkets in Puerto Rico. The program will be tested there over the next few months, with eventual aims to introduce the kiosks to grocery stores across the U.S.

The process is pretty straightforward. You bring your newspapers, magazines or catalogs to a REMAG kiosk and slide them into a slot. In return, a touch screen monitor on the kiosk invites you to choose rewards in the form of manufacturer’s coupons, which print right there on the spot. You can use them right away while you’re in the store, or save them for your coupon stash.

“During the test the customer gets to choose four coupons for recycling one magazine, newspaper or catalog,” REMAG Executive Vice President Blake Patterson told Coupons in the News. “And there is a bonus coupon at the end of the experience that the customer does not choose, that changes every week.” So if you have stacks of newspapers and magazines at home, you can score a whole lot of coupons. Local non-profits and charities benefit, too – you can select which one of several options will receive a small donation for each coupon that’s printed.


For a startup, REMAG has some impressive offers. If you’ve visited newly-launched printable coupon sites, for example, you may find their limited selection of coupons are for products you may never have heard of. But REMAG’s partners include major manufacturers like Procter & Gamble, ConAgra, Unilever, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Clorox and more. In all, the kiosks currently offer more than 150 different coupons, worth a total of more than $120.

REMAG is a new spin on “reverse vending machines”, which accept everything from bottles and cans to old cell phones. They typically give back cash, or credits for future rewards. Some might even print out a random coupon for a product or a local business on your receipt.

REMAG combines that concept with the idea of having user-selected manufacturer’s coupons as the reward – an idea popularized by companies like Recyclebank. With Recyclebank, though, it’s possible to earn coupons without actually recycling anything at all, if you take the polls and quizzes on its website. And even if you do recycle, the program has come under some criticism for its cost to communities (read: “Turn Your Trash Into Coupons (But Some Say, No Thanks)”) and the way it doles out rewards points (read: “Recycle Your Trash, So Your Lazy Neighbors Can Get Coupons”).

So REMAG dispenses with the complicated process of recycling now, to earn points later, and then redeeming those points for coupons somewhere down the line. Recycling with REMAG takes no more effort than tossing a newspaper or magazine into a recycle bin – plus, you get up to five free coupons for every item you recycle. You just run the risk of having your car serve as your de facto recycle bin, filled with stacks of old newspapers and magazines, so you’ll have them handy every time you shop. But if it means stacks of coupons in return, that may be a small price to pay.

When might you see a REMAG kiosk near you, then? “As with any new program there is much to learn and data to gather,” Patterson said. “We want to be ready for a full U.S. launch with solid analysis.” So after the Puerto Rico test, stay tuned. And have those old magazines and newspapers ready – just in case.

Image source: REMAG


  1. I hope we get one soon. i have a ton of mag. and newspapers.

  2. Sounds like a great idea. Sign me up!

  3. Interesting. I’ll be anxious to see how it tests out.

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