Eco-friendly labeling - The sustainable innovation
The manufacturer of self adhesive materials are truly aware that sustainability is an enormous priority.
The aim is to protect the environment, both in the short term and, especially in the long term for the future generations. There are various ways they can do this, and considering that labels are everywhere in our everyday lives, the contribution they make will definitely reduce the environment footprint. How can labels be more attractive but also eco-friendly?
Easy, by eliminating waste from the label production chain; by giving a second life to the adhesive label by-products; by using bio-based materials for the adhesives and polymers; and finally by adopting the International Organization of Standards (ISO) regulations that help industries reduce their environmental impacts at all levels.
Eliminating, or at least reducing waste to a minimum when producing self-adhesive label materials is a great environmental challenge. The problem involves the matrix and the liner. The matrix usually consists of paper, with an adhesive coating and, at times ink; while the liner is a paper or film material made of silicon.
The problem is that both the adhesive and silicon coatings are disruptive to the paper recycling processes. In this case, industry collaboration is fundamental for the development of recycling solutions to this regard, because eliminating waste is both a responsibility and a high-priority opportunity.
So, the question is, can this waste be recycled? The solution is not so easy. One of the most important names in this industry UPM Raflatac is in fact investing a great deal in the "greenest solutions" to this problem. He has actually found that by using polypropylene liners means energy saving as there are fewer web breaks compared with paper, so fewer down-times and stoppages. These liners are thinner, therefore more material can be wound onto the same core and so there is more productivity per roll.
In addition, UPM Raflatac experts state that the waste from their PP30 polypropylene Proliner can be converted wood plastic composite products called UPM ProFi which can actually be used for patio decking and facades, a better and greener alternative to the tropical hardwood usually used for these applications.
What is more, if combined with other biomass fuels, matrix wastes of the label converters can be used as fuel in two power plants in Germany and Finland. Finally, even the paper-based liners can be recycled into pulp and then back into paper, after taking advantage of the special RafCycle recycling system. Read more www.rafcycle.com
Even the labels themselves can be "greener". Paper can be made from sugar cane waste, therefore transforming an agricultural waste into an "eco-friendly" label, at the same time easing pressure on the traditional paper sources.
Research into the use of bio-based materials for adhesives and polymers will also help to reduce the use of the slowly diminishing availability of oil and minerals, that up to now have been used for this purpose. Recycled plastic bottles can even be used for fabric care labels. So, if we all work together, sustainably we can achieve both a greener present and an even greener future.
2018 marks the start of our operations in the USA. We recently opened our sales and service office in Dallas, Texas. PRATI USA LLC will be ...