The shift to paper wrapping in favour of polywrapping is gathering pace, with three major publishers opting to make switches, including venerable weekly Country Life moving to paper wrap for its subscriber copies.

Country Life is published by TI Media. It publishes 51 issues a year, and has an ABC circulation of 41,698 of which 23,510 are subscriber copies.

Editor Mark Hedges said: “More so than ever before, our readers are becoming advocates for our environment and that ethos should come through in everything we do.

“They are making changes to address their environmental impact and now they can rest assured that their subscription to Country Life is that bit kinder to the planet too.”

Country Life managing director Steve Prentice said the media group had been “cautious not to shift the environmental impact from one place to another”.

“We have worked hard with our partner, Walstead UK, to ensure this wrap is sourced from sustainably-managed forests and is carbon-balanced.”

The magazine is printed at Walstead Bicester, and the paper wrapping is being carried out at the site as part of a facilities management-style deal with partner Westcolour.

Mailing and fulfilment firm Westcolour has a site near to Wyndeham Roche in Cornwall, and the two companies already had a good working relationship.

“Westcolour is supplying the equipment and labour, and we are supplying the space, infrastructure and logistics,” explained Walstead group chief executive Paul Utting.

“They wanted to do more with us, and they also had customers in the centre of the country they wanted to be able to service, so it was a meeting of minds and very much a partnership.”

Four mailing lines have been installed at the Walstead Bicester site – three Sitmas and a Buhrs.

The Buhrs 3000 and Sitma 950 are equipped for paper wrapping, and the other two lines could be converted “as demand dictates”, according to Walstead group sales director Jon Hearnden.

“We’re providing a solution for the titles we look after at Bicester. This has been building up over the past six months and has now really started to ramp up and build momentum,” Hearnden added.

“We trialled Country Life over a four-week period and last week’s issue was the first when the subscriber issues went out completely in paper.”

Westcolour managing director James Ward said the firm had opted for a large reel size to maximise the potential of the offering. “We can wrap anything up to tabloid size so we can wrap larger products. Integrity Print is producing our printed reels, and Denmaur is our preferred paper partner so it’s all carbon balanced.

“The whole partnership thing really works,” he added.

Country Life is the first TI Media title to opt to use paper wrap. The publisher said it was exploring a range of alternatives to the use of polythene wrap on other titles’ subscriber copies “that are environmentally friendly while also being practical and cost-effective for each magazine’s audience”.

Separately, Kelsey Media has switched 10,000 monthly subscriber copies of Coast to paper wrapping. The July issue was the first to be paper wrapped, with Bicester handling the task ahead of Walstead taking over the printing of the magazine in the coming months.

A major move is also underway at Good Housekeeping and Elle publisher Hearst, which has pledged to replace polywrap with paper wrap on the subscriber copies of all of its titles by January 2020, after gaining environmental standard ISO 14001 earlier this year.

Chief executive James Wildman said the business was committed to making positive changes to help create a more sustainable future for employees, commercial partners and customers. “I am proud of our pledge to replace plastic magazine bags with sustainably-sourced paper wraps on Hearst UK’s subscriber copies by January 2020. This is an important step as we continue to prioritise our position as one of the most sustainable media companies in the UK.”

Further details about the specifics were unavailable at the time of writing.