UPM Raflatac gets RecyClass recognition

Pressure-sensitive labels for PP and HDPE packaging recycling

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UPM Raflatac gets RecyClass recognition
RecyClass is an initiative to advance the recyclability of plastic packaging.

UPM Raflatac, which offers sustainable labeling through innovative self-adhesive label materials and services, has received recognition from RecyClass for multiple label products with different adhesive technologies.

The recognitions expand UPM Raflatac’s portfolio of RecyClass recognized PE (polyethylene) label materials and extends to include PP (polypropylene) label materials.

Both the PE and PP materials are recognized to be recycling compatible with colored HDPE (high density polyethylene) and PP packages. This means that the PE and PP labels can be recycled either in PP or HDPE-colored recycling streams. The recognition for the PP recycling stream compatibility is first-of-its-kind in the world.

“At UPM Raflatac, we are working towards a more sustainable and circular future. One big part of this is making consumer plastic packaging recyclable. We are proud that we are the first self-adhesive label company to provide RecyClass approved recycling compatible labeling solutions for PP packaging. According to extensive, independent testing done by plastics forming enterprises (PFE), our unprinted labels have had limited impact on the recycling quality on both PP and HDPE colored recycling streams. This proves that our labels don’t hinder the recycling process or recyclate quality,” says Katja Kivelä, Business director, Food and HPC, Films & Specials SBU EMEIA, UPM Raflatac.

In the past, the traditional drivers of plastic packaging design have been functionality and brand appearance, while the end-of-life management of the packaging has been disregarded. Today it is expected that companies develop and offer solutions that are designed for recyclability.

“Today’s consumers and brand owners demand product solutions where the sustainability aspects including packaging recyclability are considered thoroughly, and in the future the demand will be even higher. We are well prepared for the market demands, as our labeling solutions for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) products are by default designed to support the recycling compatibility,” Kivelä says.

RecyClass is an initiative driven by the interest of brands, retailers, converters, raw material producers and recyclers to advance the recyclability of plastic packaging to improve recyclability and recyclate quality. With its scientific approach, RecyClass enhances and evaluates the recyclability of plastic packaging by developing methodologies and guidelines necessary to assess the recyclability of a package.

“It is not only the composition but also the components of packaging that make it recyclable. That is why labels play a crucial role in determining the compatibility of the designed product with the available recycling streams,’’ says Fabrizio di Gregorio, RecyClass Technical director. “The UPM Raflatac innovation is a very good example how this compatibility can be ensured. It is worth noting as well that the RecyClass endorsement is valid for the colored stream only. Furthermore, since the labels were tested unprinted the printing inks applied on labels could impact the recyclability,” Fabrizio said.

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