Speeding up climate protection: This roll of self-adhesive material for labels carries a significantly lighter CO2 backpack – from cradle to gate. From an emission balance sheet perspective, it temporarily binds more CO2 than is emitted for its production in the production chain right through to delivery.

At Labelexpo 2023 (hall 5, stand C14), Herma, a European packaging and product labeling specialist, presents a versatile self-adhesive material for labels that, in terms of the emission balance sheet, temporarily binds even more CO2 than is emitted for its production until it is delivered by the company.

The emissions balance has been calculated by the climate protection specialist myclimate, taking into account the cradle-to-gate approach and the final disposal phase. At the same time, its calculation method has been critically reviewed by Carbotech, an independent specialist in life cycle assessments.

“The cradle-to-gate alone approach does not take into account the utilization and disposal phases as we have no control over them,” says Marcus Gablowski, Chief Sustainability officer at Herma. “Regardless of how the label is structured, the bound CO2 is released again when it is incinerated at the end of its life cycle. But if it is recycled, for example, the bound CO2 remains in the material cycle for longer. This once again underscores the importance of material recycling.”

The new adhesive 71N plays a decisive role in achieving a good emissions balance. Herma has developed it in cooperation with BASF. According to the so-called biomass balance approach, the raw materials required for its production are partly based on biomass from organic waste instead of fossil raw materials. The appropriate plants have recently extracted the greenhouse gas CO2 from the atmosphere during their growth phase – a very welcome effect that is not available in fossil raw materials. As part of its certification, REDCert confirms that BASF actually replaces a defined proportion of fossil raw materials with renewable raw materials within its production processes.

“The main premise for us in the development of the adhesive was of course to retain the quality properties. We have established and proven this in many series of tests,” emphasizes Dr. Stefan Kissling, Head of Development of Adhesives and Special Coatings for Herma’s Self-Adhesive Materials Division. “The new adhesive 71N has excellent adhesive properties and can be easily processed.”

Reduced carbon footprint

However, it was important to achieve the emissions balance target by taking into account the use of renewable raw materials for all the main components of the new self-adhesive material. They absorbed CO2 from the atmosphere during the growth phase, thus storing it at least temporarily.

“In close cooperation with our long-standing suppliers, we have also selected a label and a backing material that is characterized by a very low carbon footprint even without taking the bound CO2 into account: Solely through the use of the appropriate materials, we were able to reduce this value by about 20 percent compared to a conventional self-adhesive material, as calculations show,” explains Marcus Gablowski.

The Hermacoat light (grade 238) label material used is suitable for sophisticated labels with multi-color printing. The slightly glossy surface results in very good print quality in all conventional printing processes as well as in thermal transfer and laser printing.

In general, Hermacoat light can also be printed with digital printing processes such as Xeikon and UV inkjet. Herma recommends preliminary tests to this end. Brown, supercalendered glassine paper with the designation Herma PH (grade 500) is used for the backing material.

“With the new self-adhesive material, we are therefore meeting the growing desire of label users to reduce the dependence and use of fossil raw materials in the supply chain for packaging and labeling materials,” says Marcus Gablowski. “At the same time, it is an active contribution in terms of climate protection if as much CO2 is bound from the atmosphere as possible.”

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