PET beverage bottles on the bottling line.

A number of new label technologies will improve the ability to process scrap PET bottles. | DedMityay/Shutterstock

Two pressure-sensitive labels and one shrink-sleeve label recently received recognition from the Association of Plastic Recyclers because they were proven not to interfere with the PET recycling process.

APR in August awarded critical guidance letters to Mactac and Green Bay Packaging, which developed floating BOPP pressure-sensitive labels, and CCL, which developed a recyclable crystallizable polyester shrink sleeve label. (APR owns Resource Recycling, Inc., publisher of Plastics Recycling Update.)

Officials from each of the companies presented on their products during July and August APR webinars. The following is information from those webinars:

PUREfloat wash-off adhesive

APR issued an Aug. 4 letter to Stow, Ohio-based adhesives manufacturer Mactac for the company’s BOPP film substrates using PUREfloat-brand emulsion acrylic adhesive, which removes cleanly from PET flakes in wash systems.

The letter covers a 2.6 mil white top-coated BOPP pressure-sensitive label substrate and a 2.0 mil clear top-coated BOPP pressure-sensitive label substrate, both using PUREfloat.

In a July 24 webinar, Rachel Finkler, sustainability lead at Mactac, explained that the company worked for over a year to develop the adhesive. It allows the BOPP label to cleanly separate from PET flakes in a hot caustic wash and float, she said.

Rahal Rasheed, senior R&D scientist at Mactac, said during the presentation that the company worked with independent R&D and testing company Plastics Forming Enterprises (PFE) to test the recyclability of bottles with the technology. The adhesive easily came off the PET flakes, he said. The flakes then passed in each APR measure of recyclability.

EcoCrys recyclable polyester shrink sleeve label

APR issued an Aug. 4 critical guidance letter to Toronto-based CCL, which is the largest pressure-sensitive label manufacturer in the world. The letter covers CCL Label’s EcoCrys branded crystallizable polyester shrink sleeve label.

The label is made with Bonset’s Bonpet Renew label film substrate, and it’s printed with the INX Genesis GS washable inks. The Bonpet Renew film is made from Eastman’s Embrace Encore resin. Both the Bonpet Renew label substrate and the INX Genesis GS inks have undergone APR critical guidance review recently.

The EcoCrys label’s solvent-based inks wash off during the recycling process, and the film substrate is designed to be recycled alongside the bottle flakes.

During a July 31 webinar, Kristi Hansen of PFE, which tested the label for recyclability, said EcoCrys was within all of APR’s specifications.

When asked whether the printing is on the backside of the label, which would allow NIR sorters to see and identify the polymer of the substrate, Daniel Webb of CCL confirmed that reverse gravure printing is used to print inks on the back of the label.

GreenCycle floating label

APR issued an Aug. 17 letter to Green Bay Packaging recognizing its GreenCycle 2.4 mil white top-coated BOPP pressure-sensitive label substrate (24WCT) with the 776S adhesive.

During an Aug. 14 webinar, Brandon Engebos of Green Bay Packaging explained that the company has had other GreenCycle pressure-sensitive label innovations pass APR critical guidance review. Those included the original 2.4 mil white BOPP (024TL) label and the 1.85 mil clear BOPP (018CT) film, both also with the 776S adhesive.

But the company submitted this new one for review because it uses a completely different film with a different top coat, which gives end users more flexibility for how they want to print labels, Engebos said. It also has a different backside coating, which is functionally important for the adhesive.

During the presentation, Matt Levesque of PFE, which tested the label, said it separated from the PET flake in the wash process and floated in the float-sink step.

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