When we think about sustainable products, our thoughts go immediately to the products themselves, often without considering any of the labelling or packaging that goes with the product. But labels and packaging play a crucial role in determining just how sustainable that product might be. First and foremost, your label and packaging must perform – not only as the product is used, but also as it’s distributed throughout your supply chain.
Many people tend to equate sustainability only with recycling; true sustainability goes well beyond recycling. Even if the label material you need to meet performance requirements isn’t recyclable, you may still have options that will allow you to meet your corporate sustainability goals.
- Brands can work with Labelservice to choose the right materials to support the circular economy by:
- Reducing weight by using lighter weight materials
- Increasing the amount of recycled content in your label and packaging materials
- Sourcing materials made from renewable sources.
- Enabling recyclability of your products’ label and packaging
Labelled products are often tossed in the recycling bin without regard to the label. But the adhesive can contaminate the by-product during the recycling process. Now label materials are available with adhesives that allow the label to be easily removed from the product container by exposing it to water first, allowing the container to be recycled.
Paper label materials can be created from pre- or post-consumer waste products. The paper waste products are made into pulp and then again into paper. Film label materials are melted down and made into more film.
Some face stocks and adhesives can be reintroduced into nature, meeting the increasing demand for compostable packaging. It’s important that you understand the available options to help you combine a highly performing label that also meets your own sustainability goals. Inks and coatings bring your label to life, protect it, and provide your customers with valuable information. Low-impact alternatives are available, such as soy- and vegetable-based ink and environmentally benign coatings.
If we don’t often think about the sustainability of our product labels, we think even less about label liners. Liners are the material that carry a label through the manufacturing process, shipping, and storage – right up until the label is applied.
After a label is removed from its liner, that liner becomes waste. Unfortunately, most liners are coated in silicone, which helps ensure clean label removal, but is not recyclable using conventional methods.
We have several methods for reducing liner waste. For example, we can provide thinner liners, which are typically less expensive, use less energy to produce, and take up less space in landfills. Liner materials are also now being made using recycled content, playing a large role in the circular economy.
What once was an afterthought has gone mainstream as more and more companies are taking the sustainability of their products seriously. Awareness is growing among brands — and the consumers who love them — that Earth’s resources are precious and often finite. We all have a responsibility to lessen our impact by choosing materials that are (or can be) recycled, limiting our energy consumption, and minimizing waste.
If you need some advice regarding environmentally friendly label options, feel free to give us a call and we will be happy to advise.