Your Magazine, Your Planet

Many readers have been showing interest in the environmental footprint of Lifestyle Magazine Group and its printed publications. We are focused on improving our sustainability, but like many businesses, there are some areas in which we are doing well and others where we face challenges.

Our magazines are printed on paper from sustainably grown forests using soy-based inks. The magazines are 100 per cent recyclable and compostable.

Our most significant environmental challenge is with subscriber copies, which need a waterproof wrapping to protect them from rain. Currently, subscriber copies are wrapped in soft plastic, which is recyclable via the Love NZ Soft-Plastic Recycling Bins.

The soft-plastic recycling scheme was launched in 2015 but was suspended in 2018 when China stopped accepting foreign plastic and New Zealand recycling centres became inundated. The Love NZ Soft Plastic scheme has returned progressively around the country as they have found local sources for the recycled plastic. Soft Plastic NZ is focused on identifying and supporting more sustainable options so that a national collection system can be re-established. Some soft-plastic recycling initiatives in New Zealand include FuturePost, a fencing product, and Second Life, a company producing recycled ducting. Locations of the Love NZ Soft Plastic bins can be found on their website.

Lifestyle Magazine Group has worked with the magazine-publishing industry to test a home-compostable plastic. Compostable plastics are made from corn starch or other plant polymers (bioplastic), which are of varying quality and durability. Our soft plastic must come on a roll for our mail-bagging machines. A home-compostable wrap in roll form has only recently become available here.

The magazine industry group looked at the feasibility of using this wrap across the industry. Any compostable wrap has to pass NZ Post testing as postage rates are dependent on the outcome of these tests. A national survey found that while home composting was on the increase it was still in the minority so didn't provide a broad solution. Adding compostable wrap to recycling causes problems with the recycling process and there are significant concerns around the biodegradability of home compostable plastic in anything other than optimum conditions..

We will continue to search for suitable alternatives to soft plastic in which to wrap our magazines. Paper or card envelopes are unsuitable as they are not waterproof and would require manual handling and incur time delays getting our magazines out.

Please be assured that finding a solution to magazine soft wrap is important to us, and we’re working hard to find the best one.