The paper banding will be phased into the titles across all regions of the UK by mid-October as News UK rolls out the new banding region by region.
Last weekend, The Sunday Times magazines in the South East of England will be wrapped with a recyclable paper band, replacing the existing inner plastic polybagging. The Saturday Times magazine will follow this week.
The move is the last piece of News UK’s plastics pledge to remove all single-use plastic used to wrap its titles and inner magazines, reducing the amount from 800 tonnes to zero in its products.
Advertisers including the AA are already lined up to snap up innovative new commercial space on the sustainable paper bands, in another industry first.
The Times and The Sunday Times removed all single-use plastic outer polybagging in June 2019, with outer polybagging either replaced by compostable alternatives made from potato starch, or in the case of supermarkets, removed completely.
The Times has led the way with shining a light on environmental causes, campaigning for change through its Clean Air for all campaign and championing climate charities such as Positive, raising over £100,000 for the cause in its Christmas appeal.
In October 2019 The Sun TV Mag removed its inner plastic polybagging across the UK and Irish editions, removing 350 tonnes of single-use plastic per year from the Saturday issue.
Meanwhile The Sun on Sunday phased out single-use plastic by the end of December 2019, replaced by compostable film.
The Times and The Sunday Times Sales Director, Caroline Tredget said: “Readers have responded overwhelmingly positively to our plastics pledge and this latest innovation has captured the imagination of advertisers too. It’s a unique opportunity for brands to engage with a sustainable advertising initiative with premium positioning across our weekend published editions. This presents a new bespoke opportunity for brands looking for high impact standout and particularly environmentally conscious brands looking to accelerate their message and engage with our readers.”
The Times and Sunday Times General Manager, Michael Brunt added: “At The Times and The Sunday Times we don’t waste words and we won’t waste plastic. Over the past year we have reduced the plastics in our products to zero and continue to campaign for green issues through our award-winning journalism. It may not be top of the news agenda at the moment, but environmental sustainability remains an incredibly important issue and one we are proud to champion both in our titles and our supply chain.”