Tuesday, 18 Jun 2019 11:18 GMT

First 100% recycled polyethylene label launched

An environmentally focused partnership between print firm, schäfer-etiketten and self-adhesives firm HERMA, has resulted in the development of what is believed to be the world’s first recycled polyethylene (PE) material of its kind.

The material – which PE film expert, POLIFILM helped to create – is made up of equal proportions of recycled industrial and household waste and has been developed for use in labelling.

The 100% recycled PE labels are compatible with a range of printing techniques. Volker Hurth of schäfer-etiketten explains: “This novel label material prints very well no matter what the technique, from flexo and offset to screen and digital printing.”

Having debuted in Munich at the CosmeticBusiness fair at the start of June, Hurth says that the product has been received well and orders and projects are already being processed.

Despite its white appearance, on closer inspection of the product, ‘gels’ are visible. “These are tiny specks that arise during the recycling process and cannot be entirely avoided,” says Hurth. “On the other hand, they give the label material an authentic character and signal to end-users that it has genuinely been produced from recycled waste.”

It’s important that we continue to challenge the throw-away mentality and focus more on actively initiating or fostering material cycles

With a new era of sustainability growing at a steady rate, more consumers are now willing to pay more for sustainable products. Recognising this, Hurth is confident that the new label is ideal for brands and manufacturers who want their packaging materials to reflect a commitment to sustainability.

As well as providing a solution for environmentally conscious consumers, the partnership was an opportunity for HERMA to exercise its approach to optimising the environmental footprint of packaging.

“It’s important that we continue to challenge the throw-away mentality and focus more on actively initiating or fostering material cycles,” says Dr. Ulli Nägele, HERMA’s head of development. “We would be very pleased if this new self-adhesive material, based on recycled PE film, could make a small contribution towards this end.”

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