UPM launches washable labels

UPM Raflatac is launching a new range of wash-off film labels for PET containers, which it says are helping brand owners achieve sustainability targets, and contributing to a circular economy.


These clear, white and metallised film label stocks – featuring UPM Raflatac’s RW85C wash-off adhesive and a PET liner made from 90 percent post-consumer recycled (PCR) content – have been recognised by the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) as exceeding their strict standards for recyclable label products.


Now available in the Asia Pacific – including Australia – and the Americas, UPM says the labels are ideal for labeling PET containers in the food, beverage, home care and personal care segments.


Junion Zhao, director, Films Business, APAC, UPM Raflatac says, “Normally with PET packaging containers, once the label once it is stuck on, it cannot be separated, meaning they cannot be converted back to high value PET granules.


“Now recyclable containers will be close to virgin grades, and made into new PET containers. The new solution can be applied on PET containers, and helping with the process, allowing them to be separated during the process without contaminated Pet flakes. So the bottles will support our brand owners in the market to support sustainability.”


Thanks to the RW85C wash-off adhesive, the labels are able to undergo common PET recycling processes without contaminating any of the PET flake by-products. During the caustic washing process, the polypropylene labels easily separate from PET containers and float, allowing more high-value, clean PET flakes to be recovered.


The clean flakes can then be converted back into PET containers, which promotes a circular economy and reduces the amount of plastic pollution in landfills and the environment.


Zhao says, “As the global drive to reduce plastic waste continues to gain speed, more and more packaging companies are looking for new and innovative solutions to maximize the recyclability of their PET containers. It is something which we developed after  talking with end-users, brand owners who need sustainable solutions.


“We are pleased to bring these wash-off labeling materials to market for our customers and brand owners aiming to achieve their sustainability targets.


Printing houses can use a regular printing process without any capital investment. So even small printers can take it up. The function is in our design of the adhesive. This means the solution is open to everyone.”


In Australia, the use of plastics, and single use plastic is being increasingly discussed, with a Senate inquiry delivered on Tuesday recommending the banning of all single-use plastics within the next five years.


Solutions such as the UPM label stocks lead to a much more efficient recycling process, with more materials able to be reused, and processed at a cheaper cost.


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