A wine label made from calcium carbonate is a natural fit for an industry already keen on going green, claims US supplier Label Impressions
The company claims that the material it uses in the labels, FiberStone paper, is unique as it is made from limestone, whereas conventional papers are made from tree-based virgin wood pulp or recycled wood pulp.
Label Impressions president, Jeff Salisbury, said that the tree-free material is supplied by its sister company, Natural Source Printing (NSP).
He said it was developed to satisfy the growing demand from green conscious companies for sustainable and low carbon footprint materials.
Salisbury said that the tree-free labels can be coated with a freezer, or moisture proof adhesive.
"The use of FiberStone paper in packaging helps conserve one of the earth's valuable carbon asorbing resources - trees," Mary Loyer, president of Natural Source Printing, told FoodProductionDaily.com
"The high quality pressure sensitive labels are made from 80 per cent calcium carbonate with a small quantity, 20 per cent, from non-toxic high density polyethylene (HDPE)," she said.
She added that the calcium carbonate comes from limestone collected as waste material from existing quarries for the building and construction industry; it is ground down to a fine powder like chalk and the HDPE acts as binder.
"The material is waterproof and durable, and actually carries a lower cost than traditional film labels. When compared to paper the cost is equal or less, depending on the material," said Loyer.
Loyer claims that the carbon footprint of FiberStone is about one third that of virgin paper and half that of recycled paper due to the decreased energy and water usage involved in its production:
"We discovered that by increasing the percentage of calcium carbonate, a stronger more durable paper could be developed and one which does not use trees, water, bleach or much energy in its manufacture," said Loyer.
She said that the production of one tonne of FiberStone paper consumes only 18,000 British Thermal Units (BTUs) while the same quantity of virgin pulp uses 36,000 BTUs in its manufacture.
Loyer claims that FiberStone paper can be recycled with traditional paper or plastic recycling methods:
"If FiberStone is turned in with virgin or recycled paper in existing recycling streams, it will pass through as coated paper, without gumming up the recycling process."
"As green consultants, we offer the food and drink sector guidance on what alternative materials are available, and if a client needs labels, boxes, or other marketing materials, we can print these for them using greener solutions," added Loyer.
There was no indication given as to when the tree-free paper will be put on the market in Europe.