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Ecoplas label proves massive boost for recycling

By Rod Addy , 08-Feb-2013

Ecoplas recyclable labels peel off easily during the recycling process
Ecoplas recyclable labels peel off easily during the recycling process

Systems Labelling has extended its Ecoplas recyclable labels to squeezy bottles, dramatically improving the recycling of these containers for manufacturers of, for example, ketchup and sauces.

Systems Labelling business development director Stephen Lloyd told FoodProductionDaily.com that its recyclable labels had already been adopted on plastic bottles by suppliers of 60% of the UK’s liquid milk market.

Now, it is rolling them out to food and non-food processors making products ranging from sauces and condiments to fabric conditioner. And he said a contract with a major manufacturer was expected to go live today.

“Our learnings are from previous involvement in WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) dairy projects looking to increase the preparation of recyclable HDPE (high density polyethylene) in milk bottles,” said Lloyd. “Then we started to look at other categories in the portfolio.”

‘Tremendous problems in the recycling process’

He explained that standard paper labels tended to “mush and pulp” when plastic food and drink containers passed through a friction wash during recycling, sinking to the bottom of the tank. “This causes tremendous problems with the machinery in the recycling process.”

They cause colour contamination and have to be disposed of in landfill sites. By contrast, Lloyd added: “The synthetic label peels off and forms a cigar shape and floats to the top, making it easier to remove and siphon off.”

These labels are designed to have enough grip to last for the life of a product and only come off under these specific conditions of recycling.

90% of labels can be removed during recycling

Systems Labelling claims 90% of its labels can be removed during recycling, a substantially higher proportion than is the case with standard adhesive paper labels. The waste labels are then recycled into Polyolefin compounds.

Systems Labelling has three manufacturing sites in Deeside, south Wales, and Runcorn and South Woodham in England.

It supplies eco-friendly labels to companies including food, beverage, household and cosmetics firms.