THIS ALTERNATIVE MAKES IT EASY FOR MANUFACTURERS TO EMBRACE ECO-FRIENDLY PACKAGING.
“You can’t just throw it into the trash!”
Eight years ago, that’s how Daphna Nissenbaum’s arguments with her teenage son began. He’d finish a water bottle, then absentmindedly toss it into the garbage. The scoldings she gave him for not recycling made the Israeli mother of five think about what else was being thrown away.
“I realized plastic bottles weren’t the main issue,” Nissenbaum says.
After all, they could be recycled, when people remembered to do so. But what about all the flexible packaging — chip bags, candy wrappers and go-to containers — Nissenbaum also saw crammed into the trash?
She did some research. What she found shocked her: Most flexible packaging isn’t recycled and ends up in landfills, oceans or other places.
Unless an alternative could be found, “our children will find themselves facing mountains of plastic,” says Nissenbaum. She thought of an orange peel or apple. Once discarded, it disintegrates biologically and turns to compost. Why couldn’t packaging be engineered to do the same?
Most people would consider that a rhetorical question. Nissenbaum made it a personal challenge.
Before earning an M.B.A. in marketing and entrepreneurship, Nissenbaum graduated from the Israeli Army’s elite software engineering program. “Part of our education was thinking out of the box,” she explains. “We were trained to create something from nothing.”
In the basement of her home, Daphna began the Tipa Corporation. Funds raised from friends and family allowed her to hire bioplastic experts. Their job: to source flexible packaging materials that are biodegradable.
Nothing existed. Instead, Tipa had to develop its own. What it came up with looks like plastic. It acts like plastic. Yet when composted, the material naturally breaks down in 180 days or less.
“Plastic that turns into compost,” says Nissenbaum. “It’s a beautiful thing.”
Yet her extensive business and management background said that wasn’t enough to be successful. “If we want the mass market to cooperate and adopt compostable solutions, we have to make it easy to do,” she says.
For instance, Nissenbaum’s team engineered their patented bioplastic to meet manufacturers’ requirements and to adapt to production practices already in place. That way, there’s no need for companies to invest in new equipment.
Today, Tipa makes zippered bags, stand-up pouches and packaging for coffee, snacks and produce. Clients range from a London-based fruit-jerky company to fashion designer Stella McCartney, who’s replacing all her plastic packaging with Tipa products and recruited the company to make invitations for her 2018 runway show in Paris. Individual products like compostable sandwich bags and biodegradable garbage bags are also sold online through eco-conscious retailers like Reuseit.com.
No longer headquartered in Nissenbaum’s basement, Tipa’s 25 employees have offices in the U.S., U.K. and Israel.
Coming up with a solution to landfill waste that the world will want to adopt has been a challenge, Nissenbaum admits, but she believes compostable plastics are the answer. So do her kids. Nissenbaum has even visited their schools to share Tipa’s mission. “They’re very proud,” she says.
As the name suggests, flexible packing is quickly gaining popularity with consumers and businesses alike for many reasons. Even though tin cans can be recycled, they are very bulky in terms of manufacturing, weight, and transportation. Flexible packaging benefits the manufacturer, retailer, and consumers in one way or another.
A flexible packaging does not have a firm structure such as plastic bottles or soda can. Instead, it conforms to the contours of its contents. The one thing that resealable zipper pouches, stand-up packaging, three-sided seal bags, zipper bags, and medical bags among other flexible packaging is that they offer both easy opening and re-sealing alternative to fumbling with childproof bottle tops. Consumers are enjoying products with the flexible packaging because they are portable, they are resealable, they don’t take much storage space, they offer single-serve portion option, and there are pouches that are microwave -friendly where food can be heated while in the package.
Shrink sleeve labeling has turned packaging into an art. Flexible packages are made from easy yielding materials such as plastic among other things like light stabilizers, wax paper, colorant, etc. Unlike using shrink sleeve labeling on plastic containers, which striking as they are, they can be removed and discarded, the flexible packaging serves as both the attractive design and the container. This printing technology has become very popular with retail, food, industrial, medical, and pharmaceutical companies because it saves them money that would otherwise be spent on purchasing containers and then paying for the cost of shrink sleeve labeling.
Reduced Weight of Packaging
Because the packaging material is significantly lighter, many businesses are opting to use pouches rather than bulky bottles that take up too much space. Consequently, manufacturers can produce up to three times the total of products, and business can benefit from the additional stock, which, does not pose any storage challenges. Depending on the product, flexible packaging can be stacked on top of each other to create additional space if needed. This type of packaging offers up to a 20% space savings compared to regular container packaging
Increased Shelf Life
A process known as scavenging removes oxygen trapped within sealed flexible packages to safely extend and protect original food flavor, aroma, and texture of products such as coffee. Flexible packaging is also made from a combination of FDA approved plastic films, poly, foils, and papers, that keep dry goods moisture-free and wet products moist. Doing so not only prevents putrefaction and extend the product’s shelf life, but also protect products from being contaminated by foreign substances when on store shelves and prevents wastage while at it.
Good for Business
Shrink sleeve labeling has gone and done it again. Not only have the graphics on flexible packaging improved, but the packages are also attracting more consumers with the different shapes and designed pouches that have enabled different brands to stand out and create a sustainable source of living for many people.
Food labels include information about the product such as the protein and sugar content, minerals, vitamins, and other relevant information. It is an essential part of product manufacturing and reports have shown that buyers pay close attention to the “facts” on a product label before making a purchase. It is important to have a well prepared manufacturing plan – no matter the size of your operation, as this will ensure you avoid common labeling mistakes. Here are a few mistakes you must steer clear from.
Following basic legal requirements for the labeling of your food product is crucial to the success of your business. Requirements such as country of origin, net contents, place of business, product name, manufacturer’s details, expiry dates, legibility, nutrition facts, and warnings/statement about allergens. In order to ensure you meet the food labeling requirements in your country, it would be ideal to review the labeling laws and approval process.
Illegible or Unreadable Labeling
Legible labeling is one of the basic requirements for a good food product label. Your products would hardly make any fruitful outing in the market if the labeling is illegible and difficult to read. Your business may even nosedive if your food products miss important information. This is because if the product makes it to the shelf and a consumer purchases it, you may be exposing such one to high level health risks.
Illegible labeling is a common occurrence with those who produce food products in large quantities at a go since maintaining a regulated labeling order could be difficult. Shrink labeling is a flexible packaging type that is ideal for high volume manufacturers. Aside its colorful and appealing designs, shrink labeling has a full body label space where you can input as much relevant information as possible.
Incorrect or Uncommon Ingredient List
Have you listed in the ingredients on your food labeling? Are they correct? Will your target consumer easily relate with the list on your product? Using uncommon names such as trade names or abbreviations would do your product no good. Always ensure you strictly adhere to FDA food labeling regulations – do not take any shortcuts while listing the items used in manufacturing the food you produce.
Nutrition Data Issues
Many consumers scrutinize the nutritional facts on your product before making purchase especially when they are managing certain health issues. These issues could include high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, and obesity. Hence, you have to be sure of the data on your labels – and you must be honest too. Details such as servings per container, your serving size, and the real item values must be double checked. Publicizing wrong information can have severe negative impact on your brand loyalty in the long term.
It is common for food products today to have common claims such as low fat, gluten free, no sugar, high protein, organic, and farm fresh. It is not just enough to convince a consumer with such health claims. Make sure your claims are verifiable so do not fall fowl of any food legislations. It would not bode well for your business if you do not have credible evidence to support your claims and your product eventually affects a consumer’s health negatively.
Learn more about Anchor Printing and their vast line of custom product label & packaging options including: Shrink Sleeve Labels, Flexible Packaging, Roll-Fed Labeling, Pressure Sensitive and Cut & Stack Labels at http://www.anchorprinting.com. To contact one of our label specialists call toll free at 800.748.0209 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Materials suppliers and film processors have been hard at work creating new label offerings compatible with PET bottle recycling.
Eastman partnered with Sun Chemical to advance the development of an adhesive that enables shrink labels such as those shown here to deseam and release during the bottle-wash step of the wet recycling process.
Shrink-sleeve labels: You see the eye-catching designs everywhere these days on food, beverages and consumer products. Brand owners love them because they offer plenty of real estate on the container to communicate what the product is and overall messaging on a 360° marketable area of the package. And the trend isn’t slowing down—the shrink-label market is expected to grow at a 5.2% annual rate through 2021, reaching $245 million in sales, according to The Freedonia Group’s study, Stretch & Shrink Sleeve Market in the U.S.
While the labels are a success story for brands, they also present a headache for recyclers. About 20 years ago, PVC had the largest market share of shrink-film labels. But 10 years ago, the industry started shifting away from PVC shrink labels because of environmental concerns.
“It’s highly undesirable to have PVC mixed with PET in recycling,” says John Standish, technical director of the Association of Plastics Recyclers (APR), Washington, D.C. “One of the most important steps in recycling PET is called ‘float and sink’ and PVC has a high density and sinks in the water. It gets mixed in with PET and gets trapped in the ‘float and sink’ step.”
The industry started to shift to PETG-based film, but that also created issues for recyclers. According to a 2014 APR report, shrink-sleeve labels that are PVC-based or PETG-based film have a density higher than water and can’t be separated from PET flakes during the sink-float separation step of the recycling process, so they contaminate the recycled PET stream and deteriorate the quality of recycled PET (rPET) products.
With the increased usage of these labels, recyclers were experiencing a rising volume of shrink-labeled PET containers that were not recyclable. It is estimated that PET bales contain approximately 5% shrink-labeled containers. The challenge of removing shrink labels during PET recycling was brought to the industry’s attention by APR and the National Association of PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), Florence, Ky., in 2012. APR established guidelines for label manufacturers and an official Critical Guidance Recognition program to encourage development of labels that are more compatible with PET bottle recycling systems.
But the big push came from brand owners: Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Walmart, and Unilever are among those who have made pledges to use 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2025.
“Labels create a variety of challenges, as they add to the complexity for the PET recycler,” Standish says. “But thanks to brand-owner requirements, the recycling aspect is a must-have. We know major brand owners are evaluating the options and we believe that 2018 will be the year we start to see the new options in the marketplace.”
DESEAM & RELEASE LABEL ADHESIVE
Eastman Chemical, Kingsport, Tenn., has been in the shrink-film label market since the early 1990s. Early polyester-based shrink labels consisted of blends of several different types of polyester, but in the late 1990s Eastman developed a reactor-grade resin that had very unique shrinkage properties, says Ronnie Little, Eastman’s market-development manager, SP-Plastics Packaging. This patented resin has become the industry standard for shrink-film labels.
Eastman Embrace LV copolyester (PETG-based) enables differentiated labeling wrapped around highly contoured, complex and thin-walled containers, and it displays 75% ultimate shrinkage. Little says that shrink labels made from Embrace resins are on some of the most recognizable brands in the world. A few examples include Method soaps and household cleaners, Malibu rum, Jack Daniels, 94Wines and Bayer garden products.
However, there is still the recyclability concern. Eastman has been very vocal about working to find a solution and in 2012, organized a consortium to collaborate on ways to solve this issue. Little says that as result of the work of the consortium, Eastman partnered with ink maker Sun Chemical, Parsippany, N.J., to advance the development of a deseamable adhesive. The result is Sun Chemical’s SunLam Deseaming Adhesive. By changing from a traditional solvent to use of SunLam Deseaming Adhesive, shrink labels deseam and release during the bottle-wash step of the wet recycling process.
Little says that for brand owners, this can be done with minimal process changes or additional investment in new equipment. The only change needed is the adhesive. The label removal occurs prior to color, infrared and manual sorting, thus preventing shrink-labeled PET bottles being removed from the rPET stream due to misidentification.
“Eastman’s partnership with Sun Chemical to develop deseaming had both companies walking into unchartered territory,” Little says. “Eastman and Sun extensively tested SunLam on labels made with Eastman Embrace LV copolyester.”
According to Little, they ran thousands of shrink-labeled containers at commercial recycling facilities to determine the effectiveness of label separation. Test variables included time in the actual recycling process, temperature of the recycle wash water, and the caustic level of the wash water. This led to optimizing the deseaming adhesive formulation to work efficiently, allowing the shrink label to come off the PET bottle prior to sortation. The result is a label-free PET container ready to be processed into rPET.
SunLam Deseaming Adhesive has received a “Responsible Innovation Acknowledgment” after passing testing outlined by APR. The tests utilized whole-bottle wash equipment at commercial recycling facilities and yielded results of greater than 95% label removal, with results typically exceeding 99%.
“Removing shrink-sleeve labels early in the recycling process virtually eliminates misidentification of PET bottles during sorting, as well as contamination that occurs in the sink-float separation process,” Little says. “Not only do labels seamed with SunLam Deseaming Adhesive release during the whole-bottle wash, the adhesive also forms a strong bond on the shrink-sleeve label that lasts through all phases of the PET bottle’s life cycle, from the sleeve shrinking, through transporting to store shelves, and consumer use.”
FLOATABLE SHRINK FILMS
Timothy Kneale, president of Topas Advanced Polymers, Florence, Ky., joined the company in 2004 and said that the company’s work in sleeve labels was already taking place with multiple commercial users of labels from various film producers. As the usage of sleeve labels continue to grow each year, Topas became focused on a drop-in option to the current recycling infrastructure.
“We have been working on a solution that enables shrink labels to float, and we’re seeing a lot more interest in that as time goes on and consumers and brand owners get more serious about demanding effective recycling solutions,” he says. “You see the commitments from big beverage companies and Walmart—the big players are coming together and drawing a line in sand that by 2025, this must be fixed.”
Enter Topas’ cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) material for shrink applications. These polyolefin film structures will float during the washing stage to facilitate separation of label and bottle materials. Kneale said floatable labels are made by multi-layering COC with PE or PP.
Kneale says that PP has a density around 0.90 g/cc, and LLDPE around 0.92. These are coextruded with COC (1.01 g/cc) so that the final structure is in the 0.95 or lower density range.
“This means the labels will float even with ink applied,” he says. “We believe the floatable solution is the best; it’s universally applicable, and every MRF (Material Recovery Facility) can do this. There’s no additional equipment to buy; it’s a perfect drop-in for recyclers.”
Topas says that COC shrinkage can be as high as that of PVC or PETG, and the Topas COC enables label manufacturers to make low-density, flotation-separable labels that meet the APR guidelines. “The COC brings high shrink, high gloss, great ink adhesion, easy cutting of labels, and high stiffness,” Kneale says. “These are all things that ordinary polyolefins (PP, PE) do not do well by themselves.”
“Labels create a variety of challenges, as they add to the complexity for the PET recycler.”
One processor running Topas COC is Taghleef Industries of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, a supplier of films to the global marketplace. Kneale says that the Taghleef film passed all of APR’s flotation tests, which confirms that the label stock will float in water and that the label does not interfere with the color or haze of recycled PET. In 2017, Taghleef introduced its polyolefin TDS label film that is clear and floatable, with up to 65% shrinkage.
Other processors that have developed floatable solutions meeting APR’s guidelines include Klöckner Pentaplast, Gordonsville, Va., with its Pentalabel ClearFloat; and UPM Raflatac, Mills River, N.C. UPM Raflatac says that during the recycling process, its RafShrink PO MDO 40 HS film 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.
“What’s exciting now is there’s all these different options,” APR’s Standish says. “The view of PET recycling is that I don’t care which one you use —just do something different, get new materials in the market and gain experience, and let’s all move forward with recycling.”
Shrink sleeves are perfect for beverage packaging, food packaging, home, and personal care packaging as well as certain industrial products. In fact shrink sleeves are a great packaging option for most products that are packaged in containers such as bottles.
Bringing together all of the elements in shrink sleeve designand manufacturing require careful thought. In some cases a customer can simply move from a traditional self adhesive label to a shrink sleeve without the need to change the container type. This is made possible by the properties of shrink sleeves and the ability to fit containers of all shapes and sizes with ease.
This design often means a shift in the design process to ensure that all of the space on a sleeve is utilized effectively and shrink sleeves can certainly help you achieve this goal via the ability to decorate the full 360 degrees of your product.
When starting a new packaging project a shrink sleeve opens up many other possibilities in terms of the type of containers that can be used meaning that you really have a blank canvas. This means that your packaging designer is able to be as creative as they like when considering the overall package.
With products needing to compete more and more for prime retail space on the supermarket shelves, the need to develop more eye-catching, innovative packaging approaches is greater than ever. Consumers can’t ignore a dramatically differentiated product with enhanced shelf presence, regardless of brand.
Shrink Sleeve Design
Shrink sleeve designs are handy and versatile. They can be made of PC or polyolefin materials. These materials are incredibly strong and abrasion resistance. Both PVC and polyolefin are recyclable. The sleeves can wrap an entire bottle or just the neck. Shrink wrap can also come in tube form or bags. They can be stretched or wrapped to the packaging container.
Shrink Sleeves Labels
Shrink sleeve labels have captured the labels market. It offers quite a range of benefits from security enhancement to cost advantages. The top benefits of shrink sleeve labels are the 360 degree coverage of the product or container.
Shrink Labeling Benefits
Branding – Full display graphics marketing on all sides of the package.
Unique packaging change – They catch consumer’s attention with bright colors and 360 degrees of marketing.
Shelf impact – Shrink sleeves offer a large body of advertising and are engaging for shoppers.
Adaptable – Label that fits all different sizes and shapes of product packaging.
Printing – Printing of shrink sleeve labels does not need to be printed directly on the container.
Transparent – Labels can be printed on transparent material allowing the contents to be visible.
Eco-Friendly – Recyclable and able to leave less of a carbon foot print that other products and packaging materials and use less energy and resources to create them.
Learn more about Anchor Printing and their vast line of custom product label & packaging options including: Shrink Sleeve Labels, Flexible Packaging, Roll-Fed Labeling, Pressure Sensitive and Cut & Stack Labels at http://www.anchorprinting.com/shrink-sleeve.php. To contact one of our label specialists call toll free at 800.748.0209 or via email at email@example.com.