Herma has been collecting leftover paper release liner and sending it for recycling in a special process. This, in turn, produces new release liner and label paper whose users include Herma itself. It produces self-adhesive, for example, which qualifies for the "Blue Angel" environmental mark because both the liner and the label paper itself are made exclusively from recycled material. Compared with recycling, manufacturing the same quantity of products from virgin viber would have increased carbon dioxide emissions by 446 metric tons. By comparison, the company's fleet of over 70 cars generated only around 375 metric tons of emissions.
"This means that, even last year, our vehicle use was effectively carbon-neutral," says Herma managing director Thomas Baumgärtner. "This simple example illustrates that even relatively small-scale recycling can make a considerable impact."
The technically demanding process for recycling silicone coated paper release liner was developed by Cycle4Green and the Austrian paper specialist Lenzing. Cycle4Green organizes the collection of waste release liner, which companies would otherwise have to pay to dispose of, in a large number of European countries. Lenzing, a pioneer of eco-friendly paper manufacture, then undertakes the recycling. Herma was the first manufacturer of self-adhesive materials to support the Cycle4Green system back in 2010.
"In effect, we are reusing our own release liners. That is an important step towards a true circular economy. It would be good to see as many industrial users of labels as possible getting involved as well," Baumgärtner adds.