Membership of Valpak and the close working relationships it has with its suppliers has led Wilmington Group plc, the publishers of Packaging Today International, to minimise its use of packaging.

The traditional magazine mailing film used by most UK publishers is LDPE. Some publishers use a thickness of 50 microns but the majority are working with 30 microns.

In a bid to make even greater savings Wilmington’s publishing divisions have recently switched to using HDPE at 17 microns. HDPE has greater tensile strength and weighs only 3gm/wrap.

The downside is that HDPE this thin looks quite milky or translucent. We have hidden that effect on a lot of our film by tinting it blue which has the added marketing benefit of giving our products a recognition factor on the doormat or in a buyer’s pile of ‘must-read’ magazines.

Now we are working with our mailing film supplier, Polyprint Mailing Films Ltd of Norwich, who is developing a film called MXP. This is a co-extruded film, predominantly made of LDPE to retain the clarity but also containing other materials to ensure tensile strength when it is produced at low thickness – our target being 17 micron again. MXP is fully recyclable.

Some publishers still use paper labels on the wrapper and this makes recycling completely uneconomic. Wilmington’s publishing divisions generally use inkjet technology to place address data onto the wrapper or onto a sheet of paper under the wrapper.

Using 17 micron MXP or HDPE, rather than 30 micron LDPE, saves about 2gm/wrap. This means we are using 40% less of the earth’s mineral resources on each wrapped magazine we post to our readers.