Guardian Weekly switches to compostable wrap

By Rhys Handley, Wednesday 05 June 2019

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The Guardian will extend its use of compostable wrap to UK copies of Guardian Weekly, its international news magazine, starting with the next edition to be sent out to subscribers.

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Guardian Weekly was relaunched in October

From the issue dated 7 June, domestic subscribers will receive their copies of the weekly edition of the newspaper, which was relaunched in October last year, in a wrap derived from potato starch designed for eco-friendly disposal rather than traditional polywrap.

Having previously made the same switch for the supplements bag that goes out with its Saturday edition, the Guardian reiterated with its latest statement that it was committed to the reduction of plastic waste. In the coming months, it is intended that the wrap will extend to Guardian Weekly subscribers in Europe and around the world.

The paper continues to explore options in Australia and New Zealand, while copies delivered in the US and Canada currently arrive in the post unwrapped.

A Guardian News & Media (GNM) spokesperson told PrintWeek: “We are in a constant conversation with our readers about what they’d like to see from us, and there was a clear demand from both readers and from us to develop ways to be more environmentally friendly.

“The compostable wrap has increased the cost of production, but we see it as an important investment to reduce our reliance on plastics.

The Guardian is committed to reducing its reliance on plastic. With help from our suppliers, we are gradually shifting to alternative packaging for our magazines and supplements.”

GNM director of publishing Mylene Sylvestre said the publisher is “continuing to put considerable effort into making our print products as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible”.

It was revealed last month that the publisher’s decision to switch to a tabloid format and outsource its printing had helped the group achieve a small operating profit across 2018/19 after years of huge losses.

Sales increased by 3% to £223m with a positive EBITDA of £800k, up nearly £20m on the previous year in which an EBITDA loss of £19m was reported. Editor-in-chief Katharine Viner also thanked readers, many of who made voluntary donations, for their role in the turnaround.

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