First News has become the first children’s magazine to move from polywrap to fully compostable wrappers for its subscription copies.
After a few months of research and testing, as of the issue dated 8 March 2019 subscription copies are being bagged in compostable wrap made from potato starch by Alfaplas in Hereford, with wrapping taking place at GB Mail in Aylesbury.
First News said GB Mail was “very instrumental in sourcing our supplier and ensuring this material was suitable for our product”.
More than 7,000 children have already signed up to the First News Wonderful World Pledge, launched in autumn 2018, promising to do all they can to help in the battle against climate change. In helping to reduce the use of single-use plastic, these compostable wrappers are part of this pledge.
“It’s gone down really well – we’ve had a lot of social media comments. Our market is children and they are so passionate about the environment, they know it affects their future,” said First News marketing director Natasha Littleton.
“There is so much going on about Brexit, which is something that our readers didn’t generally want, but that they haven’t been able to influence. The environment is something they can do something about.
“We’re always encouraging our readers to take part and do things to make a difference, whatever they are interested in, but the environment is somewhere they can make a difference.
“They’re growing up and learning about it in schools as well – they’re taught about recycling and biodegradable materials really early on so we’re having to respond to that and it’s encouraging that they are so passionate.”
First News is published by First Group Enterprises and printed at Reach Printing Services’ West Ferry Printers site in Luton.
Littleton said 30,000 subscription copies are sent out to homes, with a further 48,000 going into schools, many of which order multiple copies.
Anything up to 14 copies will be wrapped in the new biodegradable wrap, with anything over that being sent out in large brown paper envelopes or cartons due to the weight restrictions. In total, around 11,000 copies are being delivered in this way.
Founded by editor Nicky Cox, Sarah Thomson and Steve Thomson in 2006, First News is the UK’s only newspaper for young people, and the widest-read children’s publication in the country with a reported readership of 2,235,888 seven to 14-year-olds every week.
The publication has a print circulation of 71,884 according to the latest magazine ABC figures. Littleton added weekly circulation in term-time (40 weeks per year) is around 90,000 copies, and this reduces to around 36,000 copies during school holidays.