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Time to get naked?

First impressions are important, so choosing the right fulfilment solution for your magazine is crucial, says CPL mailing expert Ange Fronicke (pictured below looking through a 100 per cent compostable wrap)

Fulfilment might be the final step in the magazine production process, but the way your publication is wrapped and delivered is the first thing the reader will notice.

Up until a few years ago, polywrap was the go-to fulfilment option in the printing industry. This was mainly because it was the lightest and cheapest way of protecting a product from the elements, while still showing the magazine cover and allowing for additional loose inserts to be enclosed. 

Despite perceptions to the contrary, polywrap used on the market these days is recyclable. Unfortunately, not all UK local authorities offer this type of plastic recycling, which just adds to the confusing recycling conundrum many of us are faced with.

With the growing global move away from single-use plastics, the demand for more environmentally friendly alternatives has generated some momentum for the printing industry to invest in a range of alternatives. 

Here are the three top solutions that CPL would recommend, each with their pros and cons:

1. 100 per cent compostable wrap

Readers tend to respond positively to the potato starch-based wrap alternative (pictured below). Its increasing popularity means many suppliers are now able to offer the compostable option at the same competitive rate as traditional polywrap. Its translucent appearance allows the reader to glimpse the contents while maintaining that special, exciting feeling of unwrapping and unveiling your treasured publication. 

The milky appearance of some of the compostable wraps on the market is, unfortunately, still causing challenges with Royal Mail mailmark discounts. However, there are some more transparent options out there which overcome this issue; you just need to shop around.

If your local authority accepts compostable wrap in its waste stream, you can use it to line your food bin or pop it in your home compost. Just remember not to put it in your recycling bin!

2. ‘Naked’ distribution 

Straightforward and impactful – the content is instantly in your reader’s hands. No need for carrier sheets, envelopes or any wrapping; it's simple, cheap and the most environmentally friendly. 

However, ‘naked’ might not be a favourite option for your commercial team as you won’t be able to include any additional inserts and address and postal details need to be printed on the back cover, taking at least 50 per cent of a prime advertising slot. International ‘naked’ mailing  is not recommended, due to durability and risk of items becoming caught in other mailing items.

3. Paper wrap

We are currently seeing the increasing adoption of paper wrapping as another smart, eco-friendly wrapping alternative. It’s 100 per cent recyclable and, arguably, simpler for the end-user to recycle as paper recycling is commonplace. This example (below) we created for the Local Government Association is a great example.

Heavier than other wraps, it may have a negative impact on your postage costs. However, this alternative allows for printing and advertising on the wrap, as well as the enclosing of additional inserts. A recent addition to the industry’s fulfilment arsenal, costs are still a bit higher and most mailing lines don’t offer bespoke sizes. Just give it time though.

There are multiple factors to consider when deciding on the best fulfilment option and different CPL clients are maximising each of the three solutions I’ve outlined here. Another option is to use an easily recylable paper envelope, as we did for Fauna & Flora International (see bottom of this post).

Fulfilment is a subjective choice and will depend on your product and how you want your recipient to feel when it lands on their doormat. Do you want to tease the reader a little, creating an element of mystery or surprise, or do you want to reveal all, delivering an immediate and impactful message? 

Going naked is the most environmentally-friendly solution and it’s worth noting that this is the option favoured for the multi award-winning Circular magazine by our client, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, whose members are responsible for managing most of the UK recycling processes.

But rest assured that, whatever your brief, we can work with you to find the right fulfilment solution and the best suppliers.

Do get in touch with me if you would like to talk through any of this in more detail.

Further reading on this subject: Packaging conundrums, by Mike Sewell, from March 2019.

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