What to do with pressure sensitive label printing waste?
The Label industry has been struggling with this concern for years. There are two specific by products of label production, Siliconized Paper Liner and Waste Labels/Setup/Matrix
Siliconized Release Liner
The Release liner is used as a carrier for pressure-sensitive labels, and is manufactured by the application of silicone coating to a substrate, which may be paper, film, or non-woven material. The Release liner is needed for the label until it reaches the end user whereby the end-user will remove the label from the liner. Therefore it is the end users responsibility in recycling the waste.
Is Siliconized Release Liner recyclable?
Siliconized liners are recyclable. “Paper and film release liners can be recycled and taken back to its original form, which is fiber or resin,” says Frost, chairman of Chicago based Channeled Resources Group. “The silicone can be mechanically skimmed off from paper or re-melted from film quite easily. That process doesn’t use chemicals. What you have left is raw material for reuse. It has good physical and mechanical properties.
Matrix waste consists of paper or filmstock with adhesive coating and possibly ink. The Matrix is a by-product of the label during production, therefore recycling matrix waste is a direct responsibility of the Label Converter.
The Recycling Challenge for Label Converters:
• Silicone coating and traces of adhesive make it difficult for many recycling solutions.
• Not Cost effective
• Every municipality has its own recycling structure – No standardization between states causing confusion
• No U.S. Federal legislation regulating recyclables
• Recycling facilities are usually privately owned businesses, and can use their own discretion when it comes to deciding who and what materials they are willing to work with.
The “Green” Light at the end of a Dark Tunnel:
New innovations by leading experts have enabled the recycling of PS label waste. Programs have been in placed in Europe for years, thus enabling European companies to be at the forefront in recycling PS Label wastes. In the U.S. unfortunately due to the challenges noted above, the recycling of PS Label wastes has taken more time than our European counterparts.
So what are some of the “BEST PRACTICES” that have started and/or will be initiated in the near future?
Avery Dennisons® Fasson’s® ECO- Sensitive Services
• Liner Recycling Pilot Program – A program designed to educate customers about which liners are most recyclable.
• Educating Manufacturers in utilizing Brown Liners (performs identically to its white counterpart) instead of Bleached / Chemically treated white liners that can contaminate water supplies
• Polyethylene liner (PET) – thinner than paper liner; allows for more material to be wound on the same core. Fewer web breaks compared with paper, reduces the amount of energy used, while at the same time decreasing waste. Also, according to Fasson®, PET liner can easily be converted to energy pellets.
IPP® (International Paper Products) – Enviro Fuelcubes
• Manufactured from label matrix and other non-recyclable waste materials such as coated and laminated papers, wax cardboard, textiles, Styrofoam, plastics, all types of packaging materials, wood products and process out-throws from various manufacturing process applications.
• The cubes are supplied to power plants, cement kilns or process boilers as a clean alternative to fossil fuels such as oil and coal. Unlike fossil fuels, IPP’s fuelcubes do not emit mercury or significant levels of sulfur.
Northcoast Inc.® – Recycling Company
• The vast majority of the label waste eventually ends up in China, where it’s melted and converted into plastic pellets.
• Two types of Pellets, Repro-pellets (PET Label waste) and Virgin Pellets – Both used in a variety of packaging constructions
UPM Raflatac® – The Artek Pavillion & ProFi
• UPM® is one of the world’s leading forest industry groups as well as a global leader in the manufacturing of label materials.
• In 2007 UPM® collaborated with Artek®, a Finish design company and internationally recognized Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, to construct the Artek Pavilion®.
• The pavilion is a structure designed for re-use and mobility.
• 40 meters long and five meters wide
• Can be taken down and reassembled with relative ease.
• Principle raw material for the wood-plastic composite is self-adhesive label materials made of paper and plastic or ProFi®, a surplus from UPM Raflatac’s® production.
• Sold to unnamed NewYork gallery for $500,000.00; planning to use it as a mobile exhibition space.
ProFi® –UPM ProFi® wood plastic composite is a unique material that combines the
best characteristics of wood fibres and plastic. Manufactured mainly
from recycled material, the composite has proven to be tough and
humidity resistant. The principle raw material for the wood plastic composite is
self-adhesive label materials made of paper and plastic, which is
surplus from UPM’s® label stock production. UPM ProFi® is an
environmentally sustainable product, which can be disposed of through
incineration or recycled back into the production process. Used now to make outdoor decks for patios, playgrounds and pool areas. It is weather proof and highly durable
• Recycled: Wood based fibers and plastic polymers (left-over paper and plastic from the manufacture of self adhesive labels.
• Recyclable: Environmentally sustainable product, which can be disposed of through incineration or recycled back into the production process.