Pioneering compostable alternatives to conventional polythene magazine fulfilment

Spatial Global first offered a compostable 100% plastic-free alternative to conventional polythene almost 10 years ago. Take-up was low as the option was expensive and most publishers felt the cost couldn’t be justified. However, recent public outcry over the use of plastics has driven a resurgence in interest. Compostable film is an increasingly desirable option, and we are pleased to begin offering it once again.


At £175 for 10,000 magazines, the premium for compostable film is now within mainstream reach

With many publishers still preferring the conventional fulfilment option for their magazines, polythene film continues to be the most popular choice. However, many environmentally-focused publishers are making the conscious decision to switch to a compostable film solution. With a premium of approximately £175 on a 10,000-item mailing, many see this as an investment in their brand which adds to the credibility of their title and reduces their environmental impact.


Completely biodegradable mailing film made from potato starch

Compostable film is designed to be disposed of in a household composting bin, with organic and food waste, or placed on a compost heap in the garden. It will fully biodegrade within 52 weeks in these conditions, or a little longer if disposed of in landfill. 100% plastic-free, but maintaining the packaging qualities of plastic, this material is set to increase in volume as the public demands alternatives to single-use plastic packaging. With increasing volumes, the price of this compostable film has already dropped significantly in recent years and is envisaged to become more cost effective. We expect the price to continue to approach that of polythene film in the coming years.


Compostable 100% plastic-free alternative film specification:

  • A unique compostable film, suitable for multiple packaging applications
  • Film is a plasticizer-free thermoplastic material derived from potato starch
  • Completely biodegradable
    • The composting process is non-toxic
  • Resins used are certified for OK Compost Home (certificate pending)
  • Suitable for domestic composting
  • Biodegradation starts when:

a. Humidity level is up to 80%,

b. Temperature is over 25°C

c. After contact with micro-organisms

d. Typical degradation time is up to 52 weeks



Exploring environmentally conscious options

Spatial Global seeks to be environmentally conscious, while giving our customers well-balanced advice on the pros and cons of the various options. Here are the five core options for distributing your title by mail. We hope the following overview will be helpful:


1 – Compostable film (manufactured from potato starch)

Recycling Qualities: Not recyclable

Landfill Qualities: Will degrade fully to compost in landfill but has a very short shelf-life

Cost Comparison: Was 580% 12 months ago, at time of writing 6 months later it has dropped to approximately 250% of the cost of conventional polythene

More about Compostable film in magazine distribution


2 – Paper envelopes (manufactured from recycled paper or sustainable sources)

Recycling Qualities: Recyclable

Landfill Qualities: Will degrade fully to compost in landfill (excluding window if applicable)

Cost Comparison: Approximately 530% of the cost of conventional polythene

More about Paper envelopes in magazine distribution


3 – Biodegradable film (degrades in landfill)

Recycling Qualities: Not recyclable due to additives

Landfill Qualities: Will degrade in landfill but has a relatively short shelf-life

Cost Comparison: Approximately 300% of the cost of conventional polythene

More about Biodegradable film in magazine distribution


4 – Oxodegradeable film (breaks down in the presence of light and oxygen)

Recycling Qualities: Not recyclable due to additives

Landfill Qualities: Will remain in landfill indefinitely due to lack of light, but will break down in the general environment

Cost Comparison: Slightly higher than conventional polythene

More about Oxodegradeable film in magazine distribution


5 – Conventional polythene (LDPE)

Recycling Qualities: Recyclable but most councils do not collect polythene wrap

Landfill Qualities: Will remain in landfill indefinitely

Cost Comparison: The most cost effective option

More about Conventional polythene in magazine distribution


If you would like to know more about any of the above mailing options please contact our Mailing Commercial Manager Andy Berry on +44 (0)1332 289227 or email

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