Labels, News, Sustainable development

Recently, one of our commercial partners UPM Raflatac (whom we talked about in a previous blog) had its wash-off adhesive for PET bottle labels approved by the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR).  This adhesive complements certain models of their existing white and transparent film label stocks. It’s exciting news as wash-off labels are a significant step forward in the recycling of PET bottles.

Recycling a traditional pressure sensitive label

Although It may seem like a small detail, the adhesive on your product label can make can make a big difference in recycling efficiency.

Take PET bottles with pressure sensitive labels, for example. Faced with a PS label on a milk jug or bottle of water, a consumer who takes recycling to heart will be tempted to try to scrape the label off. The result will likely be a combination of sticky gunk and label residue left on the bottle. Some consumers even go so far as to apply a powerful chemical remove labels, such as lighter fluid. Unfortunately, left over labelling, adhesive and chemical contaminants can make the recycling process less efficient.  May as well leave the label as is. But even then, when the labeled bottle gets to the recycler, the removal process is laborious and costly. And, either way, labelling with traditional adhesive can contaminate the recovered PET.

Wash-off labels 

This is where wash-off labels such as the UPM Raflatac models come in. Designed to peel off or disintegrate when submerged in warm water, they ease the recycling process by improving product-label separation. Once the label leaves the bottle, there are no marks or ghosting. The adhesive remains with the shredded label flakes throughout recycling and makes waste material more easily recoverable as well. The result is more cost effective PET bottle recycling and additional motivation for consumers to recycle.

If you’d like to know more about these and other recycling-friendly labels, contact the specialists here at IMS!