Journals On Topic

From Poly to Paper

Sheridan and parent company CJK Group have long been walking the talk when it comes to our commitment to environmentally sound practices within our printing facilities. The newest development in that commitment goes beyond our own internal practices to answer a growing customer need.

The polybag used to mail publications is causing some publishers to reevaluate its use. It is a “single-use plastic”, defined as a product made wholly or partly from plastic that is not conceived, designed, or placed on the market to be used multiple times for the same purpose. Many single-use plastic items are already banned in Europe and India, and although the polybag isn’t among the currently banned items, it is certainly not the most environmentally friendly mailing vehicle.

At Sheridan, we serve a global community and take very seriously our own sustainability efforts, at every level. In order to meet the needs of some of our customers, we have recently introduced a paper-wrap option for those asking for an eco-friendly solution for their individually mailed publications. Our Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New Hampshire facilities have installed paper-wrapping equipment on our mail lines, which allows mailing and postage information to be easily ink-jetted onto the paper wrap. The process is streamlined and sustainable, and paper-wrapped publications can still join the co-mail pool. 

It bears noting that more and more of our publisher customers are mounting important environmental and sustainability initiatives of their own, and in fact are requiring vendors who work with them to meet certain sustainability criteria.

Poly is still used by many. For some, the convenience, impermeable protection, and see-thru benefits of poly are desirable — addresses can be ink jetted directly onto it and carrier sheets can be viewed thru it. The clear wrap allows for brand-identifying covers to be seen, and for inserts, BRCs, and ads to come along for the ride, maximizing advertising opportunities.

On the flip side, while polybags are recyclable, they are not biodegradable. This is just one important reason why requests from publishers for paper-wrapped publications continue to grow.

Five years ago, publication heavyweight National Geographic announced their switch to paper-wrapped magazines as just one part of their impressive and overarching environmental initiative called “Planet or Plastic?” and they have never looked back.

In the world of sweets, The iconic Kit Kat® bar is currently getting a sustainable makeover in Australia, featuring recyclable paper wrapping. And the food industry has embraced paper over plastic, with everything from fast food containers and wrappers to straws and left-over receptacles.

For our part, we will continue to explore methods, materials, and processes that are kinder to the planet because we — not only as responsible communications vendors but as stewards of the earth — truly believe in it.

Contact your Sheridan or KGL representative for a consultation, or visit our contact pages (Sheridan contact page / KGL contact page) to learn how we can help you publish sustainably.

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