The wrap on wrap

We’re aware of the angst that you’re fielding from subscribers around the plastic wrap issue – and we’re onto it.  

The MPA has  devoted more time in the last six months to trying to sort an environmentally sound waterproof wrap for our members’ subscriber copies, than to just about any other single issue.  

 We want to find the best-possible solution, share it with all of you, and put out a clear message to all our concerned readers.

But it is complicated – and it is evolving all the time.   

Right now, we think the best thing to do is stick with recyclable plastic wrap, and do your best to help readers recycle it through the Love NZ Soft Plastics recycling scheme.  Paper based products are not waterproof, and compostable wraps that work on bagging machines are unproven.

It’s not the perfect solution, and it’s not the final solution. It is just the best thing for now, while we  keep exploring these other options:

Home Compostable wrap: The MPA has worked with Webstar to trial home compostable wraps. One in particular looked like a possible (if rather expensive) solution.  We got quite excited about an industry-wide roll out of this. But then we heard some worrying things from the experts about home compostable wraps: in short, they need high temps or very long times to break down, beyond what the average home composter can manage.  We don’t want to risk filling our readers gardens with fragments of slimy, intact wrap. If we go down this path, we need to make sure our readers know what they need to do to properly compost their wrap.

We’re working with resource recovery experts WasteMINZ to do a survey across a sample of our magazine readers to find out how much they know about composting, and recycling different plastics. This will tell us whether home compostable wrap is a sensible solution. It will also tell us what our key messages should be if we go with a recycling solution, which is the other option….

Better Soft Plastics recycling. The MPA is talking with other industry groups about ways to boost and support the soft plastics recycling scheme. To make soft plastics recycling really work for our readers we need more collection points – there are collection centres in Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington, but there are big gaps, especially in the South Island.  We also need more innovative industries to use the collected plastic, like Future Post, the business making fence posts out of soft plastic.  

Working together with other industry groups would give us scale. Some good ideas are being tossed around: extending the collection points with the likes of publisher/printer offices; giving readers a bag to collect and post wraps to a recycler; encouraging wrap providers to recycle their products.   There’s a new sense of urgency across the print industry to find sustainable solutions.   

The MPA will be part of the conversation on your behalf over the next weeks and months, and we’ll voice the special challenges for magazines (our plastic wraps often have paper stickers on, for example, which can make them hard to recycle).

When we work out the best-for-mags solution, we’ll share it with you. Because one thing we are sure of about this murky, slippery, fast-changing issue: it’s bound to be better if we tackle it together.

Watch this space – and in the meantime, if you’ve had any wins in this area yourself let us know about them.