Using Recycled Content Paper in Magazines - Trials and Case Studies

7th December 2016

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.

Key points
Currently magazine publishing in the UK consumes around one million tonnes of paper per annum
Only a small fraction (1-3%) of current magazine publishing contains recycled content



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. 

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.

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Trials and case studies

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”.

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 >>

Case studies

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.

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 >>

Where next?

Want to know more about paper? Take a look at our reports, guides, tools and case studies for further information:

Reports >>
Guides >>
Tools >>
Case studies >>