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Flexo Sustainable : Year-End 2012
From Rhetoric to Reality Sustainability, Recycling & the Self-Adhesive Label By Jules Lejeune In an industry where the value chain and the master prod- uct are both complex, it is hardly surprising that developing an all-embracing program of environmentally friendly busi- ness activities is taking time. That said, significant advances in the last year are delivering practical, quantifiable results that prove our industry has genuinely moved on from rhetoric to establishing a real pathway to sustainability. FINAT is currently actively engaged in projects involving la- bel release liner recycling, both paper and film; the recycling of label matrix waste into energy; solving the issues around contamination of thermoformed PET containers by self-adhe- sive labels; and defining the parameters for environmentally- friendly adhesive technology. Its partner association in the United States, The Tag & Label Manufacturers Institute (TLMI), is also extremely active in the area of sustainability. TLMI’s LIFE (Label Initiative for the Environment) program offers an audited business sustainability certification process tailored to the label converting industry. TLMI has also separated its focus on sustainability issues into specific task forces—with matrix waste and spent release liner (again, both paper and film) the two main targets. According to TLMI, around 270,000 tons of label matrix waste are currently generated in North America, and only an estimated 1 percent is recycled. The Global Label Association, L9, has unanimously com- mitted to a reduced carbon footprint in every aspect of the self-adhesive labelling supply chain—from raw material man- 8 Sustainable FLEXO yeAR end 2012 www.flexomag.com
Earth Day 2013