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Waste Management: Newspapers and Magazines

Volume 692: debated on Monday 4 June 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, in pursuance of their objectives to encourage the conservation of energy and to reduce the incidence of carbon emissions and the weight and volume of domestic refuse, they will open discussions with newspaper and magazine publishers to achieve a reduction in the number of newspaper supplements, free newspapers and magazines and the frequency of their delivery. [HL3808]

The Government have voluntary agreements with the newspaper, periodical publishing and direct marketing industries, which are intended to lessen their contribution to carbon emissions and waste. The agreements are designed to improve recycling rates and recycled content of such media and to allow more effective “opt-out” services for the public.

The Government and the Newspaper Publishers Association (NPA) reached a voluntary agreement in April 2000 to increase the recycled content of newsprint, signing up to targets to reach 60 per cent by the end of 2001, 65 per cent by the end of 2003 and 70 per cent by the end of 2006.

The industry has exceeded these targets year on year, achieving 63.5 per cent by the end of 2001, 68.6 per cent by the end of 2003 and an industry estimated rate of 80.6 per cent in 2006.

The Government also signed a voluntary agreement with the Periodical Publishers Association (PPA) in November 2005, to increase the rate of magazine recycling through a number of initiatives. The PPA, which represents around 90 per cent of publishers in the UK, agreed to raise recycling levels to 50 per cent by 2007, 60 per cent by 2010 and 70 per cent by 2013.

As part of the agreement, the PPA will work with local authorities with the aim of increasing the rate of magazine recycling and providing advertising and editorial space for promoting magazine recycling initiatives. It will also use the Waste and Resources Action Programme's (WRAP) recycling logo in a prominent place in its magazines (the target coverage for this logo is 95 per cent of PPA membership by the end of 2006) and will work with WRAP on a study into barriers to using recycled content in magazines.

The recycling rate of magazines was estimated to be 40 per cent (270,000 tonnes) in 2003. A recent report by the PPA estimated the recycling rate to be 45 per cent in 2005, which equates to around 302,000 tonnes.

To reduce the volume of direct mail, the Government signed a voluntary agreement with the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) in July 2003, which set recycling targets to increase the recycling of direct mail to 70 per cent by 2013. The agreement also encourages producers of direct mail to avoid using materials that contaminate the recycling process. In addition, the agreement aims to improve the targeting of direct mail, thereby reducing the volume of mail distributed in the first place by encouraging the use of suppression files. These files list people who have opted out of receiving direct mail.