Monday, September 29, 2014
A post-consumer plastics recycling trade group is out with a set of recommendations to help guide the packaging industry on the use of shrink sleeve labels, a move to help mitigate the label’s impact on container recycling.
The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers said the problem is not completely solved, but progress is being made.
APR recommends companies use “sleeve labels that will float in water and separate from PET flakes in a sink/float material separation step.”
The group also recommends use of printed label inks that do not stain PET flakes in the wash/rinse step of recycling.
Another recommendation is to use an APR guidance document to assess the impact a label would have on PET bottle recycling.
APR further recommends use of shrink sleeve labels that leave at least 20 percent of PET bottle surface area exposed. “This will allow the most accurate auto-sortation by the broadest range of installed color sorters,” the group said.
APR formed its Sleeve Label Working Group in June 2013 to tackle the issue troubling plastic recyclers.
John Standish is technical director of APR. “Recyclers were seeing more and more containers with full wrap shrink sleeve labels contaminating their materials,” he said in a statement.
Several label manufacturers have worked with APR to create label stock that meets APR recycling guidelines, the group said.
“While we have a ways to go, the market is responding,” Standish said in a statement.
Original Source: http://www.plasticsnews.com/article/20140926/NEWS/140929926/recycling-group-releases-shrink-sleeve-label-guidelines#
Thursday, September 4, 2014
As the second largest packaging segment in the United States, flexible packaging solutions account for 18% of the $145 billion American packaging market, according to the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA). Lighter weight flexible packaging includes films and laminates, which allow for the transport of higher volumes of product and less materials needed for production. This has been a revolutionary movement for brands to adopt to save on energy costs and reduce capital spent on materials.
On the manufacturing end of the production/consumption loop, flexible packaging makes sense because it has less of a negative impact on the environment than its rigid plastic bottle counterparts. It requires less material for production, generates less CO2 during transportation and taking up less space in the landfill.
According to the FPA, the flexible standup pouch product to package ratio is 35 times greater than that of glass bottles with metal caps and 21 times greater than the aluminum can. This allows for more product to be shipped using much less packaging. Included in the association's statistics is the fact that flexible packaging uses 50% less energy to produce and 60% less plastic than rigid bottles.
While sustainable packaging is a great talking point for the flexible packaging sector, there is still progress to be made to be entirely environmentally responsible. To any consumer, recycling plastics is the answer. CompleteRecycling.com states that recycling plastics uses 80% less energy than what it takes to create new plastic containers or bottles. But is recycling the only answer to environmental consciousness? Is it applicable to flexible packaging?
Flexible packaging recycling today
As it stands, there is no proper closed-loop system put in place to handle the recycling of flexible packaging, especially multi-layer high-barrier materials, specifically structures composed of aluminum foil within a polyethylene (PE) laminate. Mono-layered packaging is more easily recyclable because it doesn't contain the aluminum foil center. But the process to recycle multi-layered flexible PE packaging involves more steps than the traditional plastic recycling regimen by including separation of each layer. Each layer is then analyzed, identified and recycled individually to further process the plastic film into a recyclate resin.
Since a lot of flexible packaging is used for food products, another hurdle for recycling is food contamination. Due to food contamination in most flexible packaging going through the current recycling system, a very small percentage is actually reusable. The non-recycled polymers are sent into oxygen-free chambers for incineration, providing emissions-monitored energy to manufacturing plants.
There are great initiatives in the works from forward-thinking groups like the Flexible Packaging Association, who has a strong focus on sustainable packaging. The FPA is working with several producers for packaging that is safe for the environment. The Sustainable Plastic Coalition, the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APPR); and The Flexible Film Recycling Group(FFRG), are also promoting and increasing public education and outreach on plastic film recycling.
Cradle-to-cradle design is another initiative that organizations such as Enval are working toward. The philosophy of cradle-to-cradle design is to keep packaging products within the reusable system without downgrading or becoming 100% waste. Enval has found a way to fully recycle the aluminum foil between the layers of polymer laminate and keep it clean. Along with that, they can produce oils and gases from the plastic components, which can be used for electricity and heat. This is possible by using microwave-induced pyrolysis, which is not able to be done by incineration because of the inclusion of oxygen in the process.
Manufacturers are also moving toward the cradle-to-cradle concept by implementing the use of either eco-friendly materials that biodegrade, bio-based plastics that may also be biodegradable or techno-friendly materials that can be recycled without being down-cycled into low-grade materials. Using plant-based materials in flexible packaging would mean economic growth for agricultural industries. It would also push further agricultural development due to demand for crop growth.
Possible optimization of flex pack recycling
While Enval's process to completely recycle aluminum components and use pyrolysis for plastic components is currently the best solution for handling of multi-layered packaging waste, there is no solution to adequately recycle the plastic components into other plastic materials.
With pyrolysis, char residue formed from plastics contains inorganic materials, 80% liquid carbon and 20% carbon gas (CO2 gases are not created because of lack of oxygen in the chamber). The carbon can be transported to different locations for liquid fuel/energy needs. The ash can be used as ingredients in products such as concrete ready mixes. While the carbon can be used as fuel, companies tend to enter mixed waste materials into the pyrolysis chamber, producing fuel that may not have optimal usability.
What needs to continually be researched is an effective way to turn this carbon liquid fuel into a more serviceable, high-integrity energy source.
Developing more effective end-of-life processes (especially within pyrolysis) for flexible packaging; to have an even lesser impact on the environment is a challenging quest, but it is possible. With the innovations the flexible packaging sector has already made, like using bio-based material,or the waste-to-energy process of pyrolysis, the building blocks of further development have been set in place.
A product label is an intricate part of what influences consumers to buy your product. A label identifies your product from similar products that are selling in the marketplace. It is crucial for business owners to have a label designed that is plentiful for marketing and promotions as well as complete product information. The label on a product is meant to provide an accurate ingredient list as well as to highlight everything that distinguishes you from the competition. The more attention your label is able to grab from consumers the more likely they are to make a purchase.
When you are marketing your product within foreign markets your product package design and label will separate you from others. If the item that you are selling is edible it is important that your label clearly states all the ingredients as well as what ingredients your product is free from such as nuts, gluten, dairy or other allergy inducing things. Allowing your customers to be knowledgeable about your product makes it easier for them to commit and make an educated purchase right away. The label should engage the customer and allure them into committing to buy.
A label embellishes your product and is made to continually bring attention to your product. Not only should it grab their attention but it should drive them to make a purchase. What is the best way to do this? Marketers work diligently to design a perfect product label. The label design should be professional, unique and engaging. When a product is visually interesting people tend to want what you are offering. When consumers are stimulated, which can be done with an appealing label, they often make a purchase.
When looking to produce a label there are several different types of labels to consider that are of higher quality. A higher quality label will speak high volumes for your product. There are a variety of superior types of labels including cut & stack, pressure sensitive, roll-fed and shrink sleeve labels. If you are looking for labels that are printed directly on the product consider the option of flexible packaging. Flexible packages are good for products ranging from chemicals, beverages and nutritional supplements.
The products tag or label as it is more commonly referred to delivers information, grabs the attention of consumers and help to inspire a purchase. With each of these features working together it is remarkably easy to persuade the buying decision of your customers.
When it comes to labeling there is no shortage of products in need of accurate, attractive product labels. The market today is one in which labeling has never been more important. With food allergies and specific ingredient-free products on the rise labels are vital. When a product is stored in a container that the contents cannot easily be identified, which most are now a days, the label is the only source of information on what is in there. Labels come in a variety of forms and can be pasted or printed on the outside of the package.
The shape of your products package and the form the product comes in are all important marketing tools to help sell your product and company image. Making your product easily recognized and remembered by consumers is what will differ between a product that succeeds or fails. A combination of characteristics that make up your products exterior will help to give your product a boost over the competition.
There are two ways that product labels can be adhered onto a package; they can either be printed directly on the package or onto a label that is then placed on container. Paper labels are less expensive and more vibrant in design but can easily come off if not attached to the container in a strong manner. When a label is printed directly onto the container it is more expensive but also can be more easily read by consumers and less likely to wear off.
It is valuable to not only the company but also to the consumer to place relevant product information in a place that is constant and clearly visible location. Labels can come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit all products and containers. If a label that adheres directly onto the package is what you are looking for you can choose between cut & stack labels, pressure sensitive labels, roll-fedlabeling and shrink sleeves. Flexiblepackaging is one way that labels can be printed directly onto the product.
One thing that is important to remember is that there needs to be enough space to not only includes the “important” product information there needs to be space to ensure the product is recognized. This can be done with the use of a brand image or company graphic without over powering or over crowding the label.
If you choose to have a label printed and designed for your new product look into finding an experienced and reputable printing company. Look for a company that is able to offer in house design services for your label as well as updated resources that cater to your specific product. Finding a company that caters in industrial and commercial product label printing will be helpful as your brand further expands.