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Flexo Sustainable : Year-End 2012
enables multiple short label runs on the same labelstock to be piggybacked on press for optimal efficiency in material, time, and energy usage. In some European countries—significantly Germany—prac- tical financial assistance in achieving technology advances in support of sustainability is offered. Additionally, leading labelstock laminators are also offering a collection service for labelstock waste products from their converter customers. At our recent FINAT Congress, a roundtable discussion brought together a panel of label converters from both sides of the Atlantic who all confirmed their commitment to grasp every opportunity to save waste, time, and cost—both for the benefit of the environment, and their businesses. It is at the converter level of the label industry that self-adhesive labels actually make their physical appearance, and are then passed on to the brand manufacturers and contract packers who will apply them. While release liner plays its part in ensuring accurate, smooth, fast, label application at the packer’s premises, label matrix waste remains with the converter, in need of a solution that does not involve landfill. SAY NO TO LANDFILL It is one of FINAT’s major challenges to assist convert- ers across Europe in making sustainable use of their matrix waste. The waste-to-energy channels already mentioned are an option. In addition label matrix waste can also today be recycled into wood-plastic composite products. However, FINAT sees its prime role today as a facilitator in creating a chain of custody for spent release liner involving the end user. For end-user companies that choose to take advantage of it, financial payback is available from industrial recyclers for film release liner, both PET and PP. Siliconized paper release liner, however, requires more specialized treat- ment. In this respect, Germany has led the way. VskE, the German label association, has actively promoted the services of the specialist recycling company Lenzing Paper Mill in Austria, working with independent facilitators Cycle4green (C4G). Together, they are actively closing the loop between converter, end user, and recycler. A regular collection rota has been created for spent release liner from end-users’ packaging lines identified by converters who are prepared to participate. C4G manages the logistics—collect- ing and delivering recyclables—and maintains the day-to-day contacts with converters and brand owners. Major release paper manufacturers, too, have developed two important waste collection initiatives in central Europe. UPM offers a closed-loop system for release liner recycling in its paper production. Paper release liner is de-siliconized at UPM’s Plattling mill in Germany, and then re-used as raw material for different paper grades. This initiative is open to the whole labelling value chain, across the whole of Europe, regardless of the origin or color of the material. Customized liner waste collection and logistic solutions are offered, along- side the company ’s labelstock waste management program. 10 Sustainable FLEXO year end 2012 www.flexomag.com
Earth Day 2013