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Towards recyclable HDPE packaging with self-adhesive technology

Avery Dennison and UPM Raflatac test their respective adhesive technologies with RecyClass to advance circularity of HDPE packaging

The choice of adhesives and labels is among the key design aspects to consider for the circularity of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) packaging. However, complying with both usage requirements and recycling requirements is a challenge for most packages, that are essentially labelled with non-removable adhesive at cold washing conditions.

Avery Dennison and UPM Raflatac are working along the industry value chain to promote a circular economy in plastic packaging. The companies have now taken and step forward by successfully testing non-removable labels for the first time. The laboratory findings show that Avery Dennison’s acrylic adhesive label materials[1] – ‘GLOBAL MDO ’ with  S7000, PE with S692N and PP60 with S7000 and S692N – and UPM Raflatac’s SMARTCIRCLE PE labels with acrylic and hotmelt technologies[2]  do not hinder the recycling process of the coloured HDPE stream. Results indicate that even if not removed during the recycling process, the named technologies will only have a limited impact on the HDPE stream when designed under the specified conditions[3].

In accordance with those new lab findings, the RecyClass Design for Recycling Guidelines for coloured HDPE and PP rigids[4] have been updated to allow as limited compatibility the use of the above-mentioned structures. As for most packaging features reported in the yellow column of the guidelines, these technologies will downgrade the packaging recyclability by one class on the Online-Tool and for the Certification Audit, as opposed to three classes for any other non-removable labels. The use of washable and releasable adhesives remains however the preferred option.

The RecyClass Decoration Taskforce is planning additional testing campaigns  on labels and adhesives to increase the know-how of the industry and provide further guidance. Every component counts for circular plastic packaging, and therefore RecyClass encourages continuous innovation and involvement of the entire plastic value chain. Interested companies can look to the RecyClass Recyclability Evaluation Protocols and Quick Test Procedures[5] to verify the compatibility of novel technologies.

 

[1] Links to the RecyClass Technology Approval Letters granted to Avery Dennison can be found here

[2] Links to the RecyClass Technology Approval Letters granted to UPM Raflatac can be found here.

[3] Conditions of the approval can be found in the respective Technology Approval Letters.

[4] RecyClass Design for Recycling Guidelines

[5] RecyClass Recyclability Evaluation Protocols and Quick Test Procedures

 

About Avery Dennison

Avery Dennison Corporation (NYSE: AVY) is a global materials science and manufacturing company specializing in the design and manufacture of a wide variety of labeling and functional materials. The company’s products, which are used in nearly every major industry, include pressure-sensitive materials for labels and graphic applications; tapes and other bonding solutions for industrial, medical and retail applications; tags, labels and embellishments for apparel; and radio-frequency identification (RFID) solutions serving retail apparel and other markets. Headquartered in Glendale, California, the company employs approximately 32,000 employees in more than 50 countries. Reported sales in 2020 were $7 billion. Learn more at www.averydennison.com.

Contact: Mirrijne Pluim - Marketing Communications Manager, mirrijne.pluim@eu.averydennison.com

About UPM Raflatac

UPM Raflatac is leading in sustainable labeling through our innovative self-adhesive label materials and services. We offer high-quality paper and film label stock for branding and promotion, informational labels, and labels with functionality. We operate a global network of factories, distribution terminals and sales offices. Our company employs around 3,000 people and made sales of EUR 1.6 billion (USD 1.9 billion) in 2020. UPM Raflatac is part of UPM. Find out how we are labeling a smarter future beyond fossils at www.upmraflatac.com.

Contact: Katja Kivelä, Business Director, Food and HPC, EMEIA, UPM Raflatac, Tel. +358204167818

About RecyClass

RecyClass is a comprehensive cross-industry initiative that works to advance plastic packaging recyclability and to establish a harmonized approach towards recycled content calculation and traceability in Europe. Activities within RecyClass include the development of Recyclability Evaluation Protocols and scientific testing of innovative materials which serve as the base for the Design for Recycling guidelines and the free online tool. RecyClass offers Recyclability Certifications and Recycled Content Traceability Certification for plastic packaging.

Contact: Alice.Wallon@plasticsrecyclers.eu, www.recyclass.eu

RecyClass Recyclability Approvals

RecyClass issues two types of Recyclability Approvals – Technology Approvals and Product Approvals. These are issued upon conducted testing in accordance with one of the established Recyclability Evaluation Protocols. Testing results are incorporated in the RecyClass Design for Recycling Guidelines and the Online Tool. The full list of approved Technologies and Products can be found on the RecyClass website.