The Circular Economy for Labels (CELAB) consortium and Tarsus Group, organizer of the Labelexpo Global Series, have announced a collaboration to showcase new matrix and release liner collection and recycling initiatives at Labelexpo Europe 2022. Labelexpo Europe will take place at the Brussels Expo between 26-29 April next year.
The global CELAB consortium is dedicated to increasing linear and matrix recycling rates to bring the self-adhesive labeling industry into line with circular economy programs promoted by governments and regulators worldwide. In practice, this means the recycled material can be reused in the manufacture of new release liners or items of a similarly high value.
CELAB is organized into regional branches, with the European division hosted by FINAT. Francesc Egea, director at IPE Labels and Sleeves and FINAT vice president, represents FINAT on the CELAB-Europe steering group. There are workstreams under the European steering group focusing on data mining, liner and matrix recycling solutions, collection logistics, regulatory affairs, and communications.
CELAB and Labelexpo membership to make recycling economical
CELAB-Europe’s membership at this moment includes 32 companies and organizations – Ahlstrom-Munksjö, All4Labels, Avery Dennison, BASF SE, CCL Label, Delfort, Dow, Elkem, Evonik, Fedrigoni Self-Adhesives, Felix Schoeller Group, Gipea, FINAT, Flexcon, Henkel, Herma, Intercoat, Itasa, Lecta, Lintec, Loparex, Mitsubishi, Polyester Film, Momentive, Mondi, Siliconature, Synthomer, Taghleef Industries, Toray Films Europe, UPM Raflatac, UPM Specialty Papers, VskE, and Wacker Chemie.
CELAB estimates there are 1.6 million tons of label liners sold worldwide, of which 25% in Europe, with a recycling rate of approximately 20 percent into other materials. CELAB-Europe’s goal is for over 75 percent of the continent’s used release liner and matrix material to follow a circular route by 2025.
Current CELAB initiatives include a global market research study into material volumes, recycling rates and capabilities conducted by AWA, and a technical review of release liner recycling technologies. Already, two white papers have been released on the recyclability of paper and PET release liners. Further initiatives are in progress or planned, such as a study into the valorization of matrix waste and collaboration with Petcore to establish a PET liner recyclers network across Europe.
The main challenge to be examined at Labelexpo Europe 2022 is making recycling economically viable in the face of technical complexity and high transportation costs arising from the fragmented distribution of liner and matrix materials.