The Guardian has become the first UK newspaper to switch from plastic packaging to a biodegradable wrap for its newspapers and supplements. The first papers to use the new packaging were delivered the weekend of 12 Jan.
The new potato starch-based wrapper replaces the polythene wrapper previously used. The change comes following feedback from readers.
Instead of recycling the wrapper with other single-use plastics, readers are being encouraged to compost the potato starch material or put it in food waste bins. According to the newspaper, the packaging does not contain any genetically modified material.
The new wrap material was introduced across London, Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk in advance of a national roll out over the remainder of the year.
"We're delighted to start rolling out the biodegradable wrap for our Saturday Guardian weekend supplements," said Mylene Sylvestre, director of publishing. "The wrap is made from Bioplast 300, a material based on potato starch and suitable for domestic composting. Readers will now be able to dispose of the wrap in their food waste or composting bins."
The wrap material is produced by Biotec GmbH, based in Emmerich am Rhein, Germany. The wrap was sponsored by Belgium-based Ecover (UK offices are located in Richmond upon Thames in south-west London).
The move to potato starch wrapping will increase production costs for the Guardian. The price of the weekday edition will increase 20p (22 cents) to £2.20 (€2.48), while the cost of the Saturday edition will increase by 30p (33 cents) to £3.20 (€3.60). The Observer (printed on Sundays) will increase by 20p to £3.20. This is the first price increase in three years.