Upcycling with labels

May 2, 2019

Packaging Solutions


Two expert panels from the German Packaging Institute DVI visited Herma recently to learn how labels can help optimise the environmental balance of packaging materials.


How can labels help optimise the environmental track record of packaging materials and labelling processes? What should labels be made of in order to foster better recycling or even upcycling of plastic packaging? Following an invitation by renowned German Packaging Institute DVI, many packaging experts from leading brand manufacturers visited self-adhesive technology expert Herma. The visit entailed, among other things, an exclusive preview into a research and development project for an innovative linerless label system which will be officially introduced at this year’s Labelexpo and Fachpack exhibitions.


‘This system will drastically increase the application scope of so-called linerless labels,’ stressed Herma managing director Dr Thomas Baumgärtner. Label users therefore no longer need to worry about professional disposal or reconditioning of release liner material, as it is simply no longer needed. That is a strong argument in view of scarce resources that must be used sustainably.’ More detailed information about the new linerless system will be released in late summer. 



Labels and their residue free removability also play a key role in the recycling of plastic packaging materials. ‘If all impurities – especially printing ink – can be removed along with the label, the resulting granulate has the highest possible quality. This makes it suitable not only for recycling, but also for upcycling.’ explained Marcus Gablowski, head of adhesive and special coating development at Herma. 


Some participants of the DVI events asked about how to manage the balancing act between ensuring reliable adhesion of labels and removing them without any residue. To that end, the company uses an innovative multi-layer technology. ‘With this technology, it is possible to combine seemingly contradictory product characteristics. Costly special materials are not required, as we are able to assign specific properties to every individual adhesive layer. Therefore, labels are not part of the problem, but rather part of the solution,’ said Marcus. In the future, packaging will have to comply with considerably stricter requirements concerning its environmental balance and fundamental recyclability.

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