Immediate Media have announced that they will be wrapping all future copies of BBC Countryfile and BBC Wildlife magazines in recyclable paper wrapping from June onwards, in partnership with green energy company Ecotricity.
As consumers become more aware of their plastic consumption, there has been a growing backlash against the plastic wrappers that the majority of publishers use to post copies of magazines to subscribers.
But alternatives are not always straightforward, and BBC Countryfile Editor Fergus Collins admits that it’s not been an easy task. “I’m absolutely delighted that we’re now plastic free,” he said. “It’s not been a straightforward task as we’ve been looking for a long-term, sustainable and cost-effective replacement rather than a quick fix.”
Immediate MD Andy Marshall says that there’s still work to be done to roll it out across their other titles.
“This is just one of a number of initiatives Immediate have been researching and testing,” he said. “We will continue to explore sustainable solutions which work across all our brands to make sure we are as environmentally aware and friendly as possible.”
Immediate Media is not the only publisher to be switching to more sustainable options. The National Trust declared its members magazine wrapper 100% plastic free and fully biodegradable in September last year. The material is made from waste potatoes left out of the food chain in Eastern and Northern Europe, and is processed to release the starch and manufactured into granules, according to their website.
In January, The Guardian joined the compostable wrapper movement, becoming the first national newspaper to come in a biodegradable wrap in January to reduce plastic waste. Its Saturday edition, which has to be packaged due to the number of supplements, is now wrapped in a similar potato starch-based material, which readers can compost or put into their food recycling bin.
Immediate’s new packaging takes a slightly different approach, and is paper-based rather than compostable. This means it can be easily recycled, but will not hold up as well to damage or wet weather – a key factor publishers have to balance when considering changing wrapping.
Cost is the main reason why many publishers haven’t yet taken this step, as sustainable solutions are also unfortunately more expensive, and put pressure on margins that are already tight.
Immediate’s partnership with Ecotricity, who supply green energy to homes and businesses across Britain, is a neat way of alleviating some of the financial pressures of switching to more sustainable wrapping.