CR’s incredible dissolving bag

Newsstand copies of the November issue of CR come in a revolutionary new bag that simply dissolves in hot water. No landfill.

Newsstand copies of the November issue of CR come in a revolutionary new bag that simply dissolves in hot water. No waste. No landfill.

Anyone buying their copy of CR on the newsstand this month will find that the issue comes in a transparent bag bearing the words ‘This bag dissolves in water’. And it does.

We are the first magazine anywhere to trial a new packaging material called harmless-dissolve which was created in the UK by Cyberpac. Here’s what you do:

1, Take the magazine out of the bag


2, Cut off the sealing strip – the glue of the strip is biodegradeable but will not dissolve in water


3, Place the bag in a receptacle filled with hot water (60+ degrees recommended by manufacturer)


The clear plastic dissolves into the water almost immediately


The printed area takes a little longer to break down – here’s ours after about a minute

After a couple of minutes, the printed area has broken down sufficiently for it to disintegrate when rubbed between finger and thumb – it’s a bit gunky and sticky but washes off straightaway


4, Pour the residue down the drain

We are assured that any residue is perfectly harmless. Apparently you can even drink it – we tried, it tastes horrible, so we wouldn’t recommend this.

A quick sluice around with water clears up any remaining residue both in the sink and in the receptacle.

CR is working with Cyberpac on a range of experimental packaging solutions. Subscribers received our September issue in an envelope that could be re-used as a binder for our Monograph series (see here), while in October we gave subscribers one of six static prints of images from the Photography Annual (see here).

Why do a bag at all? We needed to bag this month’s issue on the newsstand because it contains a free CMYK colour guide from Heidelberg. Rather than using a traditional polybag, we tried this.

Subscriber issues come in regular, non-dissolvable, packaging this month – next month, though, we have something special for you.


More details from Cyberpac on how it works, also in the comments below: “The hot water is just to show you the biodegradability at speed. You don’t need to boil it, just chuck it on the compost heap! We use this to package fish food as it dissolves in the water releasing the bait.

“Harmless-Dissolve is made from a hydro-degradable substrate which is 5 times stronger than normal polythene. It is a readily biodegradable, water soluble polymer which completely biodegrades in a composting environment, in a dishwasher or in a washing machine. It has no harmful residues and will biodegrade into naturally occuring substances – the bugs love it.

“It’s non-toxic and is degraded by micro-organisms, moulds and yeasts. These organisms can occur in both artificial environments, such as anaerobic digesters, activated sewage sludge and composts and natural environments such as aquatic systems and soil. The micro-organisms use Harmless-Dissolve as a food source by producing a variety of enzymes that are capable of reacting with it. In the end the bag becomes carbon dioxide, water and biomass.” More here

If you’d like to know more about harmless-dissolve, please contact Will Anderson at Cyberpac,


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