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Green business

Retailer strives to \'plant a tree, not a cartridge


Cartridge World CEO Burt Yarkin

CEO Burt Yarkin sees Cartridge World’s campaign to plant 75,000 trees as something concrete it can do for the environment. Actually, that’s ironic, because less concrete and more foliage is the idea behind the loyalty campaign by a company with a mission to keep cartridges from filling landfills.

The U.S. Cartridge World took its lead from the chain’s 300 stores in the U.K. that did a similar campaign a few years ago that culminated in the planting of 60,000 trees. The idea is to reward consumers who buy recycled cartidges or refill their used ink or toner cartridges. They are given a loyalty card, or a “Plant a Tree Frequent Buyer Card,” as it’s called, and after three to nine cartridges—franchisees decide on the exact number—a tree is planted in their name in a national forest. Last year was the worst forest fire season on record, with more than 9.6 million acres burned, according to the company.

“It’s timely with all this discussion about green businesses and global warming,” Yarkin says. “It seals our commitment to the environment.”

In addition, Cartridge World established a recycling fund-raising program that invites community groups and schools to collect empty ink and toner cartridges to sell to the stores, which will ensure they are recycled properly.

The 550 U.S. stores have a commitment to plant a minimum of 37,000 trees, but they expect to come closer to their 75,000 goal.

Cartridge World isn’t the only business branching out to reforesting. In May, Doubletree Hotels directed guests to their Web site to make a pledge for which they’ll receive two seedling trees to plant and nurture, compliments of the hotelier and The National Arbor Day Foundation. In exchange Doubletree matched each pledge, donating an additional two seedlings in a regional or national forest.

Who said it’s not easy to be green?

To date, Cartridge World is responsible for depriving landfills of 15 million cartridges, which proves green businesses also can produce a fistful of green.

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