The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers, an American organization specialised in the life of products after their consumption, and therefore their recycling, has published a final report on the shrink sleeve label. We found some interesting recommendations in their report to make shrink sleeve labels greener.
As we now know, the plastic film of the sleeve contaminates the recycling of the PET in containers. This is an obstacle in the process of recycling. Unfortunately, the technology of advance sorting does not solve this problem, making it almost impossible to recycle the containers.
The recommendations made by The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers provide good guidance for current heat-shrink sleeve label projects. They consist of:
- Choosing shrink sleeve labels that will float in water and will separate from the PET in the recycling tanks.
- Selecting inks that will not stain the PET in question during washing and rinsing, which precedes recycling.
- Facilitating the sorting process by leaving 20% of the PET bottles visible. This way, the latest sorting machines are more likely to identify the shrink sleeve label and adapt accordingly.
These recommendations are general, but they give us a good idea of where the industry is headed and what new solutions are appearing on the market. Also, let’s not forget that it is possible to adopt a discreet and effective way of removing the label quickly. By doing so, there is no obstacle when recycling the container, as I mentioned a few months ago.
Above all, this report demonstrates that there are many ways to make the shrink sleeve label greener, and that solutions exist today to make the sleeve as environmentally-friendly as it is effective on the store shelves!