Study shows shrink sleeve film boosts recycling rates
Shrink sleeve films are one of the fastest growing label segments, in large part due to the shelf impact created by their ability to provide a 360-degree product presentation.
According to US firm AWA Alexander Watson Associates, shrink sleeves are growing at 5.5% CAGR and expected to reach 12,750 million square metres in sales in 2018.
To date, however, one of the drawbacks has been the recyclability of shrink sleeves, and global brand owners are actively seeking ways to increase the recyclability of shrink sleeved PET containers to reduce their environmental footprint.
It has the solution in the form of its new RafShrink PO MDO 40 HS product.
The company presented the results of a full-body shrink sleeve label recycling study, featuring the new material at the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) Technical Forum in New Orleans, Louisiana,on 1 February.
The study, conducted with Plastic Forming Enterprises, demonstrated that RafShrink, a polyolefin-based, roll-fed shrink film label provides significant recyclability gains over PETG labels, currently the industry-standard film label for shrink sleeve applications, when used with clear PET bottles.
UPM Raflatac claims RafShrink PO MDO 40 HS provides superior branding on complex container shapes due to its high MDO shrinkage of 61% at 95°C and its best-in-class haze at 3%, high clarity and gloss. The shrink film also can be applied at high speeds, labelling more than 50,000 containers per hour.
The study shows that during the recycling process, the polyolefin material ensures clean separation from clear PET bottles by floating to the top of the caustic washing solution, unlike PVC and PETG labels, which sink with PET bottle material. RafShrink PO MDO 40 HS meets the Critical Guidance by Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) and by European Plastic Bottle Platform (EPBP).
The research study tested RafShrink PO against PETG labels on clear and coloured PET bottles and other packaging materials. RafShrink PO labels provided average detection rates of 92% versus 40% for PETG sleeve labels when tested at six leading near infrared (NIR) equipment manufacturers.
The study shows that clear PET bottles can be detected by NIR sorting equipment even when covered with a full-body PO-based shrink sleeve. As a result, brand owners who use RafShrink PO MDO 40 HS can significantly improve the PET packaging recyclability rates, while ensuring that the recycled clear PET containers continue to provide the outstanding clarity and quality they require for reuse on global food and beverage products.
"We are proud to offer a polyolefin-based shrink sleeve film, RafShrink PO MDO 40 HS, for the food and beverage market. RafShrink meets global manufacturers' exacting requirements for a lightweighted full-body shrink sleeve solution that delivers exceptional branding, productivity and sustainability,"
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