UPM Raflatac & Baumgarten Collaborate on LCA

MILLS RIVER, NC | UPM Raflatac has collaborated with Brazilian converter Baumgarten on a life-cycle assessment (LCA) of label material release liners. The purpose is to help understand the full "label life" of their products, from the extraction of raw materials to delivery of finished label stock to customers. The two companies in the label value chain report they have adopted this voluntary guidance to assess—and reduce—their impact on the environment. The study will be publicly available at Labelexpo Americas 2016, September 13–15.

Baumgarten began its LCA efforts with a foundational study comparing glassine (landfilled) and PET (recycled) release liners for a product it produces with UPM Raflatac label stock. Although PET liners are manufactured from petrochemicals, the company says they are easier to recycle in Brazil than glassine liners. Additionally, because PET liners are thinner, they can yield more labels per roll and offer fewer roll changes on-press, allowing printers, converters, and end-users to achieve greater productivity.

By using UPM Raflatac's Label Life figures to help evaluate a switch from glassine (landfilled) to PET liners (recycled) and applying this information to the consumption of 100,000 sets of labels, Baumgarten identified a reduction of water consumption by one-third (equaling more than 3,000 loads of laundry), a decrease in solid waste by 20% (the equivalent of the daily waste generated by nearly 500 Brazilian citizens), and a decrease in carbon dioxide emissions by 15% (roughly the amount produced on a short airline flight) during the product life-cycle.

"Our LCA study was insightful," says Gabriela Neves Ferri, R&D Manager, Baumgarten. "We saw real value from analyzing UPM Raflatac's Label Life figures so that we can build towards creating a total picture of the environmental impact of our products." Baumgarten has already embarked on a second LCA collaboration with UPM Raflatac.

UPM Raflatac says working with customers is an integral part of its holistic approach to sustainability. Baumgarten shares a common approach, and acquiring deeper insights through LCA enables the company to deliver on its sustainability strategy, which aims to reduce the environmental impact of its products.

"UPM Raflatac is an environmental leader, from our adoption of ISO systems and Label Life LCA tool to our cooperation studies around LCA with our customers and end-users," says Tyler Matusevich, sustainability specialist, UPM Raflatac. "We help converters like Baumgarten empower their customers to make sustainable choices that benefit their businesses, end-users, and the environment."

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