The Guardian wraps its newspapers in potato peelings

Posted on 06 September 2019.

To fight plastic pollution, the famous British daily has replaced plastic packaging with a compostable version made from potato starch.

The Guardian used to use 25 tons of plastic a year to wrap its newspapers.

In 2016, the United Kingdom produced 3.7 million metric tons of plastic waste, two-thirds of which was shipped abroad "without any recycling guarantees" says a report published in June 2018 by the environmental organization Green Alliance. Of this, 700,000 metric tons of plastic film are produced each year in the United Kingdom.
The Guardian alone used an annual 25 metric tons of plastic film to wrap its newspapers. That's half a ton a week! In the absence of effective recycling, this packaging ends up in the oceans, where it breaks up into micro plastic particles. A real ecological disaster for all the marine species that then ingest them.
To fight this plastic pollution, in January 2019 The Guardian decided to sell its newspapers in 100 % biodegradable plastic. A first for a national newspaper.
Called BIOPLAST 300, this packaging film is made from potato waste sourced from the European food industry. The waste is treated to obtain starch, which is then transformed into biogranules. When mixed with other plant-based polymers, the material is extruded into an extra-thin plastic film that can be used to wrap the daily newspaper.
Readers are encouraged to compost the packaging or put it into their food garbage bin. According to The Guardian, in well looked after compost bin, decomposition should take around six months.


Inspiring the British press

This biodegradable packaging was first launched on a trial basis in London and the counties around the capital. Its readers were very enthusiastic. The newspaper therefore decided to introduce the biodegradable protective film across the country.
"The environment is an issue that matters to us and it would be great if more publications did the same," says the British newspaper. A wish that was heard. In fact, The Times has said it is testing biodegradable packaging and hopes to put it in place "as soon as possible". And as for the Daily Mail, teams are also looking into the possibility of replacing polythene packaging with paper packaging.