UPM Raflatac, a company we have been working with for some time now, specializes in the manufacturing of self-adhesive base materials. Their recyclable self-adhesive labels recently received a big approval from Novelis, the largest beverage can recycling company in the world. Novelis has confirmed that UPM Raflatac’s “Vanish” line of PET film labels are acceptable for recycling with aluminum cans.

An alternative for microbreweries

We believe this is significant news for Canadian microbreweries seeking an alternative to pre-printed cans. This is because not only do these labels integrate well in the aluminum can recycling process; they can also help microbreweries save money.

Indeed, the minimum order quantity for pre-printed cans is in the tens of thousands. This represents a financial and logistical burden for most microbreweries. Self-adhesive labels for their part can be applied in small quantities. This is advantageous for very small microbreweries but also for market tests, promotions or seasonal sales.

Recyclable label

This label is considered recyclable because it can be manufactured in a very thin format, (0.92 mm) and especially because it is light weight. In the flotation process used in some methods of recycling, it will separate easily from cans.

Regulations in Québec

But beware, “Vanish” labels can be used on beer cans throughout Canada but not here in Quebec. Unfortunately, there is a regulation in our province that dictates that the weight of the label should not exceed 1% of the weight of the can. According to our initial calculation of the “Vanish” label weight, as thin as it might be, it will still be above the acceptable limit, at more than 10% of the weight of the can, if we are considering maximum surface coverage.

One wonders whether this regulation is unrealistic and whether it has any real purpose for the beer industry.

Vanish or shrink sleeve

“Vanish” labels are comparable to shrink sleeve labels in the way they integrate with the look of the labeled product. Unlike Shrink Sleeve labels, however, these self-adhesive labels can only be applied to flat surfaces.

If you would like to learn more about various labeling options, consult the experts at IMS.