Infographic: Life of a Paper Grocery Coupon


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This infographic was submitted to us by SavingStar. They included this description:

“The production of paper grocery coupons destroys 13.62 million trees each year. That breaks down to 1.135 million trees each month – roughly the number of trees it takes to fill New York City’s Central Park twice over. Only one percent of the newly-inked coupons sent to consumers’ homes by way of weekly free-standing inserts (FSI’s) makes it to the grocery store checkout. Instead, a shocking 99 percent of the coupons are never used, heading directly to the recycling bin, or even thrown away. Those that do make it to the store are eventually shipped to clearinghouses in Mexico. Track the journey of paper grocery coupons in this infographic.”

I love this as a graphic. It’s a really in-depth look at just how much paper is wasted by our careless paper-handling habits. I also love the humor throughout. “Here, a coupon may not yet have a heartbeat, but its lifecycle is beginning.” Adorable! The illustrations are great, the information is thorough and takes a clear stance, and the message certainly works with the values of the company.

There are a few statistics within this graphic, giving it a fighting chance at transformation–but right now, it isn’t an infographic. It’s a lifecycle, and a very good one, but there is no data visualization. If the trees covering Central Park twice were visualized… if the 1% of coupons that are actually used were shown in a graph of some sort… this would approach infographic status.

Until such time as that data gets visualized, though, and maybe a few more statistics are included too, this can’t be viewed as a true infographic. I’d have to give it a D on the infographic rating scale, but I want to grade it so much higher!

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