Recyclable Labels + Eco Labels

With our eco labels there are several label materials available that are classed as environmentally friendly or compostable labels; the demand for these labels is increasing significantly and our stock ranges reflect this trend. The labels come in the following formats as:

  • Eco labels that are made from recycled material
  • Recyclable labels – that can be recycled after use.
  • Biodegradable or compostable labels that decompose harmlessly in landfill.

Please read more information on this evolving subject below and as ever please be free to call us on 01270 766566.

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Recyclable, compostable or recycled labels?

It is a complex and challenging subject which is developing all the time as demand grows for more eco labels. The complexity in this field of labelling is due to the fact that labels are a three part substrate; the face stock, the adhesive, and the release liner. The release liner is the most challenging due to the silicone aspect.

To be able to fully recycle the release liner, the silicone would need to be washed off which is a very technical and expensive process. Therefore, at present this is generally regarded as non-recyclable although there are some schemes in place to recycle glassine liners into packaging products such as corrugated board for cartons. For more information click the following link to read about the sustainability of release liners from Avery Dennison.

The adhesive is less of a challenge as this only makes up a very small percentage of the label and therefore is insignificant to the recycling process.

Whether or not the actual label is recyclable depends on the choice of material. It is advised that the label material should match the material of the product it is being adhered to, otherwise strictly the label should be removed before recycling. So a plastic label should be used on a plastic bottle, whereas when sticking to cardboard a paper label should be used.

In reality, the label is often not removed and is either recycled with the product or eliminated in the recycling process. (i.e. labels on glass bottles would be burnt off when the glass is melted down).

Biodegradable labels (aka Compostable Labels) are labels that conform to an EN standard of compostability EN 13432. More information can be found regarding the EN Standard from BPF  (British Plastics Federation).

There are a number of other  materials in eco labels that are environmentally friendly:

Recycled Labels

The face stock is made from 100% recycled paper.

Grass Labels

A paper label that is made of 30% fresh fibres from sun dried grass.

Water Wash-Off Labels

A good general purpose permanent, acrylic based adhesive designed for water wash-off applications. The label can be removed with water without leaving residue on the product. For best results, a hot alkaline water should be used however hot pure or soapy water also works well.