Celebrating Earth Day

By Steve Katz, Editor | April 22, 2014

Is today the day to look into release liner recycling?

Today is the 44th Earth Day, and according to National Geographic, more than one billion people throughout the world will “celebrate” – whether it’s planting trees, picking up trash, recycling, or going to some sort of eco-themed rally.

Earth Day is a day of action, though many who will take action today probably think about what’s best for the environment throughout the year, and act accordingly. Action could be a number of things – adhering to recycling protocols, buying products based on eco-friendly packaging, composting, etc.

The printing industry – label printing in particular – has a complicated relationship with the environment. Half of what a typical label converter produces is waste, hence, waste reduction has been an ongoing theme within the industry. For many printers, waste concerns have more to do with saving money than saving the planet. The label industry has multiple waste streams – there’s the waste generated when setting up a run, and there’s the waste generated as spent release liner, when a label is applied to a product. Neither is good.

With regard to release liner, it can be recycled, though it takes effort and money. Label King in San Diego offers liner recycling to its customers – the company picks up the spent liner and takes it to a facility that can recycle it.

Label King’s liner recycling program serves as not only a green practice, but also a way to attract eco-conscious customers. And it’s good business. According to the 2013 Cone Communications/Eco Global CSR Study, 93 percent of consumers expect businesses they buy from to support corporate social responsibility efforts, including efforts for environmental sustainability and participation in environmentally friendly programs. Liner recycling takes extra work and extra money, but, in the end, there is indeed a payoff that’s more than just feeling good about being green.

In the spirit of Earth Day, here is a link to TLMI’s guidelines on How to Recycle Release Liner, which includes contact information of companies that can collect and recycle your releaser liner, or at the very least answer questions you may have.

Also, in the same spirit, check out UPM Raflatac’s Rafcycle program.

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