The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has commissioned an investigation into the opportunities and obstacles to using recycled paper in magazines and the publishing industry in Britain.

Glossy magazines have traditionally steered clear from using recycled paper on a large scale, in the often mistaken belief it would not pass their quality control.

But there is limited scope for increasing the use of recycled paper in the almost-saturated tissue and newspaper market.

Now the WRAP research aims to provide the confidence and information publishers require to up their use of paper containing at least a mix of recycled and ‘fresh’ paper in appropriate titles.

WRAP is hopeful that, if successful, the work could help stimulate demand for recycled paper and perhaps encourage further investment in recycled magazine paper mills.

Consultants at PIRA International have been appointed to carry out the research and are currently gathering essential information on available papers, collating existing print and publishing experience, looking at title types for potential suitability and identifying opportunities for commercial trials.

If phase one is positive then pilot schemes and commercial-scale trials will be run.

At a conservative estimate over 1.3billion magazines are read in the UK every year, not including glossy supplements in newspapers.

Although it is estimated that less than 3% use recycled content, publishers are increasingly showing an interest in doing so, provided the quality and costs are acceptable.

David Adams, WRAP’s paper product manager, said: “We’re really pleased that the amount of paper recovered in the UK is rapidly growing, but in parallel to this we need to continue to identify additional opportunities for this raw material.

“This is particularly true for recovered magazine and office grades, because the potential for further increases in usage in newsprint and tissue manufacture are finite.

“This new research is at the heart of WRAP’s key objective – creating markets for recycled resources.”

The results of the phase one research are expected to be published later this month.

By Sam Bond

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