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Inside Construction publisher first to use paper-wrapping mailing machine

Inside Construction publisher first to use paper-wrapping mailing machine

Prime Creative Media has made history as Australia’s first publisher to send paper wrapped magazines at scale, in partnership with its printing and mailing supplier FSG.

Based in Bayswater, Victoria, FSG purchased the country’s first ever paper-wrapping mailing machine in January this year. Imported from UK supplier Norpak, the machine’s ability to wrap publications in paper will eliminate plastic wrapping for several Prime Creative Media titles, including Inside Construction magazine.

“It’s the evolution of the mailing industry to abolish the use of single-use plastics in mailing magazines,” says Michael Murphy, owner and director of FSG Mailing. “This follows the government’s move to get disposable plastics out of our Australian systems.”

The decision to embrace paper-wrapping as a sustainable solution stemmed from the prohibitively high costs associated with alternatives. Until the introduction of this technology, the only alternative to plastics for publishers was paper envelopes.

Murphy explains that this option was cost-prohibitive due to the high costs associated with producing and printing envelopes. Additionally, it required a labour-intensive process of hand inserting magazines into the envelopes or using expensive equipment for insertion and sealing. This added more than a threefold increase to mailing costs.

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Despite previous attempts by mailing houses like FSG to experiment with bioplastics and recyclable plastics, the technology proved impractical.

“We tried to use bioplastics but the settings on the machines, which use heat to seal them, make it very difficult,” says Murphy. “Even for those companies who worked out how to mail them, it was a challenge for consumers to separate the plastics at the end of the process or find appropriate disposal – eventually, we saw that the only real option was paper.”

Murphy came across this technology through his supplier, Norpak, which had previously supplied his plastic wrapping machine. “They introduced us to the idea because they saw what was happening in the European Union with the phase out of single-used plastics,” says Murphy. “With the Australian government making similar moves towards a full phase out of single-use plastics, we think that this machine will be the catalyst to push the movement along in the mailing industry.”

Murphy notes that in Europe, where it was put into commercial use 18 months ago, it has already taken off. “The first person to use the machine really took a leap in the dark,” says Murphy. “Now he has 13 of these machines, and those plastic wrapping machines are sitting there not being used – they are becoming museum pieces.”

“That will be the future in Australia now that this machine has arrived.”

An additional environmental benefit of the machine is its capability to print addresses directly onto the paper-wrapping, eliminating the need for flysheets listing addresses. This not only enhances efficiency by reducing the printing and transportation of flysheets but also opens up opportunities for the use of recycled and sustainable paper products.

Australia’s first ever paper-wrapping mailing machine. (Image: Prime Creative Media)
Australia’s first ever paper-wrapping mailing machine. (Image: Prime Creative Media)

Despite the paper’s reduced weather-proof qualities, particularly in Australia’s climate, Murphy expresses confidence in its effectiveness. He acknowledges that occasional damp magazines may be a minor inconvenience compared to the significant reduction in plastic waste destined for landfills each year.

Christine Clancy, COO at Prime Creative Media, was onsite at FSG in Bayswater to witness the first dispatch of paper-wrapped publications. “It’s such an honour to watch history in the making, to see our publications make this first step in reducing single use plastics in our environment,” says Clancy.

She notes that the company has long been involved in supporting the growth of the waste management industry, through its publications Inside Waste and Waste Management Review, along with its annual Waste Awards.

“After years of reporting on the challenges of single-use plastics in the waste industry, it’s so wonderful for us to play a proactive part in it by reducing our own use,” says Clancy. “We’re fortunate to have FSG as a partner to help make this happen.”

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