Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Packaging trends are increasingly dominated by sustainability. As we move towards a circular economy, the 3 Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle play a key role. We look at some of the significant developments in these three areas in the world of labeling.


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Recycling is firmly on the global packaging agenda. It is a key part of most corporate and brand development plans. Take Pepsico, for example, as part of its global sustainability agenda one of its 2025 goals is to ‘strive to design 100% of our packaging to be recyclable, compostable or biodegradable, increase recycled materials in our plastic packaging, reduce packaging’s carbon impact, and in partnership with the PepsiCo Foundation, work to increase recycling rates.’

More plastic is being recycled than ever before, according to the latest figures from the new ‘Post-Consumer Plastic Waste Management in European Countries’ report (Source: PlasticsEurope) For the first time, more plastic waste has been recycled than landfilled.

As recycling grows, a new problem has emerged – contamination. Labels can be contaminants due to adhesives not detaching cleanly, materials becoming mixed or inks bleeding into the wash. MCC is committed to delivering sustainable solutions that allow for improved recycling compatibility and with recycLABEL®, have introduced a range of label technology options that are completely compatible with the PET recycling process. These industry leading developments led to MCC being recognized with the APR’s ‘Partner for Change Award’ and the TLMI Environmental Leadership Award.

recycLABEL® – Multiple Shrink Sleeve Options

For shrink sleeves there isn’t a single solution, so MCC offers four recycLABEL® Shrink technologies. Craig Bushman, head of R&D at MCC explains:

De-seaming technology: the seam of the shrink sleeve ‘unzips’ during the whole-bottle wash process in the reclaiming environment.

Floatable film shrink sleeve: a more fitting approach for recycling in Europe is the use of polyolefin films that float in the sink-float separation process.

Crystallizable PET: this is the newest approach to address the recycling problem. This method uses shrink sleeve film material that is compatible with the PET container resin. In addition, the artwork ink is designed to be removed completely in a caustic bath; the ink does not dissolve but remains as solid particles, which can be filtered off. As a result, clean PET film can then be incorporated by the reclaimer, thereby increasing the yield.

Last but not least, there is a fourth option, which involves the addition of twin perforations on the side of the sleeve that allows consumers to remove the sleeve from the bottle before placing both the sleeve and the bottle into collection bins or bags. This option is a conditional interim endorsement by EPBP for perforated, tear-off, full body sleeves for personal and household care PET bottles.


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