UPM Raflatac Offers Results of Shrink Sleeve Label Recycling Study

MILLS RIVER, NC | UPM Raflatac presented the results of a full-body shrink sleeve label recycling study, featuring the company's new RafShrink PO MDO 40 HS product, at the recent Assn. of Plastic Recyclers (APR) Technical Forum in New Orleans, LA. The study, conducted with Plastic Forming Enterprises, reportedly demonstrated that RafShrink, a polyolefin-based, roll-fed shrink film label, provides significant recyclability gains over PETG labels. 

Company says that shrink sleeve films, with their ability to provide a 360-deg product presentation, are one of the fastest growing label segments, growing at 5.5% CAGR and expected to reach 12,750 million sq m in sales in 2018, according to AWA Alexander Watson Associates. However, company adds, global brand owners are actively seeking ways to increase the recyclability of shrink sleeved PET containers to reduce their environmental footprint.

RafShrink PO MDO 40 HS reportedly provides superior branding on complex container shapes due to its high MDO shrinkage of 61% at 95 deg C and its best-in-class haze at 3%, high clarity and gloss. The shrink film also can be applied at high speeds, labeling more than 50,000 containers/hr. During the recycling process, the polyolefin material ensures clean separation from clear PET bottles by floating to the top of the caustic washing solution. Product meets the Critical Guidance by APR and by European Plastic Bottle Platform (EPBP).

"We are proud to offer a polyolefin-based shrink sleeve film for the food and beverage market,” says Markus Kivelä, product manager, shrink sleeve films, UPM Raflatac. “RafShrink meets global manufacturers' exacting requirements for a lightweighted full-body shrink sleeve solution that delivers exceptional branding, productivity, and sustainability."

The research study tested RafShrink PO against PETG labels on clear and colored PET bottles and other packaging materials. RafShrink PO labels provided average detection rates of 92% vs 40% for PETG sleeve labels when tested at six leading near infrared (NIR) equipment manufacturers. Company says the study shows that clear PET bottles can be detected by NIR sorting equipment even when covered with a full-body PO-based shrink sleeve. As a result, brand owners who use RafShrink PO MDO 40 HS are said to be able to significantly improve the PET packaging recyclability rates, while ensuring that the recycled clear PET containers continue to provide the outstanding clarity and quality they require for reuse on global food and beverage products.

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