Work Still To Be Done On Recycling Of Self-Adhesive Label Liners

The self-adhesive label is proving to be quite successful, despite market complexity and increased competition. This kind of label is proving to have many benefits for label converters who have added a higher variety of self-adhesive labels to their ranges, including the generation of new business and the garnering of attention from end users.

Interestingly, despite the fact that other label technologies are soon to come, a large portion of brand owners were not ready to leave their self-adhesive products behind, according to a recent Radar survey conducted by Finat. The survey was just part of the in-depth report which profiles Europe’s diversified label industry using focused research and analysis conducted by market research company LPC.

Included in LPC’s research are those factors in current marketing which are having the most impact on label supply chains, including suppliers of raw material, label converters and customers. The most recent and sixth edition of the Finat Radar report focused on the view of label end users, which is both crucial and fast-changing. This viewpoint revealed the work to be done with raising awareness about sustainability and ensuring the environmental friendliness of self-adhesive inkjet labels in terms of efficient waste recycling.

Separation of Label Converters from Label Application

One aspect of the environmental friendliness of self-adhesive labels that appears to have gone unaddressed is the continued distance of label converters from the point where their labels are actually applied. It’s at this point that label release liner enters the waste stream, and precisely the point which requires more thought as to the development of regular and practical collection systems for used liner and the general waste from label production.

Interestingly, over half of end-users surveyed for the Finat Radar report stated that they were not aware of currently-available options for the recycling of release liner from labels. An even larger percentage of end users were not engaged in the recycling of liner waste. Their primary reason for not doing so was the fact that the logistics involved with the collection and transport of waste to a recycling facility were too complex.

Education Needed

Finat also recently released a study focused on the recycling of used label release liner. The study recorded the current practices in the EU’s ten largest member states surrounding waste management and recycling legislation, as well as the level of understanding of the differences between incineration, landfill and recycling. The study also included EU practices for end-of-life options.

The results revealed that more education was needed about not only the importance of recycling used label liner, but also the economic benefits of doing so, across the entire value chain.

If the expectation of brand owners in the survey is correct, label demand in 2017 will increase by a whopping three percent or more. Although this comes in below their expectation for last year, it still indicates the strength of this business sector. Regarding digital print solutions, brand owner expectations were to offer five percent more of these solutions in 2018 than they do this year.

Brand owners not only plan to produce increasing volumes of products, but the trend is toward reduced label print runs and just-in-time delivery and personalisation. All of these only speak louder to the importance of better label waste recycling and increase the urgency for education on the proper recycling procedure for used label liner and other label waste. In countries like the UK where specific directives and goals are in place to achieve zero waste to landfill by 2020, it will be especially important to educate the end user about their recycling options, as well as have procedures in place for the efficient collection of used label liners.