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Recycling association recognizes label technology innovators

June 12, 2014

Avery Dennison and The Kennedy Group are among those that have "taken a huge step in helping to generate more good clean material available for recycling."

The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR), a trade organization representing the plastics recycling industry in North America, recently announced that five companies have received recognition for designing new products that meet or exceed the voluntary guidelines under APR’s Critical and Applications Guidance Recognition Programs. The Recognition Program is designed to support those companies that innovate packaging technologies and  successfully design products that avoid disrupting and contaminating plastic recycling streams.

The companies all recently petitioned to receive recognition for sleeve, pressure sensitive, or direct print labels that meet APR's most strict testing guidance. Those companies are: Avery Dennison, Polysack, Plastipak, American Fuji Seal, and The Kennedy Group.

“We are pleased and excited that packaging companies and their suppliers continue to recognize the importance of utilizing APR Guidance Documents when creating new innovations for plastic packaging,” says Steve Alexander, APR’s executive director. “Our primary objectives are to increase supply and reduce contamination. These guidance documents are the industry tested models to ensure new innovations do not contaminate or interfere with a container’s or package’s ability to be recycled.”

“These five companies have taken a huge step in helping to generate more good clean material available for recycling, and for working with the industry to ensure their innovations are compatible with existing recycling technology,” adds John Standish, APR’s technical director.

The APR’s Full Sleeve Label Working Group has recently concluded an extensive review of the impact of full shrink sleeve labels on recycling of PET containers. Labels that sink in water with PET, or where label ink can stain recovered PET are undesirable for PET recycling. This Working Group has recommended that sleeve labels meet the criteria contained in the APR’s Critical Guidance Document for Full Sleeve Labels on PET Containers.

American Fuji Seal, Avery Denison, and Polysack have received recognition for new sleeve label technologies that meet APR’s Guidance criteria for sleeve labels. APR believes these new technologies will contribute to reducing the negative impact that sleeve labels have on PET recycling today.

Pressure sensitive labels used on packaging are problematic for recycling when the adhesive on the label does not wash off or does not float in water. The Kennedy Group has received recognition for a pressure sensitive polymer film label that meets the strictest guidance given in APR’s Guidance Document for Pressure Sensitive Labels. This result demonstrates that the label and adhesive can be removed cleanly from the PET container, and that the label floats to allow complete separation of the label from the PET.

A new approach to labeling PET containers involves digital printing of the label directly onto the surface of the PET container. Plastipak is introducing this label approach and has employed APR’s Critical and Applications Guidance Documents for PET Bottles to demonstrate that this first commercial offering will not interfere with the recyclability of the intended bottle.

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