We are delighted to announce that Gardens Illustrated's subscriber copies will now go out to homes in a paper wrap, as opposed to a plastic one. Many of our readers have asked us about this process and so here is the information on why and how we have done it.


What took so long?

Gardens Illustrated's publishers, Immediate Media, has been looking into alternatives for its plastic wrap on subscriber copies for all its titles for the last year. There was a dedicated team working on finding the right alternative to the wraps and there were several reasons why this took so long.

A Melcourt Compost Bag for Life

Overall, the subscriber base for the publisher is 1.1 million and so the company needed to work hard to make the right choices for all the titles. It needed to make sure that the alternative didn't throw up new recycling issues. The plastic wraps used were recyclable, so work had to be done to make sure another option that posed more recycling issues wasn't chosen.

What were the options?

Compostable wrappers were looked at but decided against, because they only break down if they are composted correctly, usually through commercial, rather than household, composting methods. Though compostable, the wraps therefore posed their own environmental conundrum.

Standard paper envelopes could have been an option, but they would have required the magazine to be inserted by hand - a much slower process from the point of printing to when subscribers received their copies. Immediate Media's research showed that subscribers value receiving copies early.

Instead, having no wrapping at all was trialled, as well as developing a new paper wrapper that would ensure magazines still arrived in good time and in good condition.

It has taken a while for Gardens Illustrated to get its paper wrap - there were other titles with a bigger volume of subscribers that were swapped over first. Prioritising them removed almost 1 tonne of polythene from the system every month.


  • The paper wrap is 100 per cent recyclable and made from sustainably sourced paper.
  • If recycled correctly, the new packaging solution will reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Now that equipment is in place our printers will be able to offer non-plastic wrap solutions for other companies.
  • From the outset, Immediate Media's aim was to find a solution that was sustainable to the industry as a whole - and good for the environment as a whole.

For any questions or feedback, write to paperwrap@immediate.co.uk


Read our piece on how to avoid plastic in the garden

Here's a peek at the upcoming issue.


Daisy Bowie-Sell is digital editor of Gardens Illustrated. She has previously worked as a journalist for publications including the Daily Telegraph, WhatsOnStage and Time Out London