Using recycled content paper in magazines - print trials and case studies

Currently magazine publishing in the UK consumes around one million tonnes of paper per annum, and only a small fraction (1-3%) contains recycled content.

In this project, WRAP investigated the scope to increase the proportion of recycled fibre used by magazine publishing to ensure long-term end markets for recovered fibre. Increased demand and use of recycled content paper will increase the diversion of paper from landfill, and improve the likelihood of investment in new recycled content paper capacity.

This project has been supported by a steering committee made up of printers, publishers, the PPA and representatives from the Newsprint Publishers Association has produced a series of case studies and print trial reports to help the magazine industry achieve its paper sourcing requirements by providing information on the experiences of some of their colleagues in the industry when using paper with recycled content. 

The case studies include a members magazine which has been printed on 100% recycled paper since its inception, a newspaper supplement printed on 100% recycled paper for the last ten years and another members magazine that switched to 100% recycled paper over five years incurring no additional printing or finishing costs.

The print trials conducted on B2B and consumer magazines have been assessed by panels of consumers, printers and publishers and have comments such as “In terms of quality, the recycled and virgin papers were hard to differentiate”; the trial copy “all fine with little discernable difference” and the publishing team thought “recycled paper was generally an excellent match for virgin”.

In summary we have shown in many cases that paper with recycled content can be comparable, if not better than an equivalent virgin paper in terms of price, availability, quality and in ‘look and feel’. In order to ‘close the loop’ we need, not only to continue to collect paper from which to make recycled paper, but also to continue to specify and buy that paper. The new WRAP case studies and print trial reports will help inform that decision making process.

Print trials

Recycled paper shows potential in consumer magazines

Recycled-paper print trial delivers promising results

High-quality magazine printed on 50% recycled paper

Printing on recycled paper proves problem-free

Print trial case studies

Building society magazine successfully converts to 100% recycled paper

Recycled paper cuts the cost of colour supplement

Recycled paper meets new magazine's commercial criteria

Sunday supplement opts for recycled paper

Recycled paper catalogue highlights corporate values

Music magazine moves to 100% recycled paper

Campaigning magazine goes 100% recycled