At Royston Labels we are committed to the goals of sustainability and waste reduction. We already send a huge quantity of our waste materials – including silicone release liner trim, cardboard and plastic wrapping – to be recycled.
In 2018 alone, we sent a staggering 55 tonnes of plastic waste and 12 tonnes of silicone release paper for recycling. In addition to this, the remainder of our waste is collected by a “Zero to landfill” accredited service provider.
However, we believe we can do even more! In a bid to reduce the environmental impact of our processes we’ve made a commitment to incorporating sustainable materials into our award-winning labels.
If you’d like to find out more about the sustainable materials we’ve been using, visit Packaging Innovations in Birmingham this February – we’ll be showing off some of the sustainable paper and film materials described below.
Finding sustainable alternatives to traditional filmic materials is a big priority for the labelling industry. The manufacturing process has been a challenge, but nonetheless we now have options available which minimise the overall environmental impact. These options can be split into four main groups: materials with recycled content, materials made from sustainably sourced content, materials with “enabling” technology, and thinner caliper materials.
Materials with Recycled Content
It can be difficult to obtain plastic label materials with recycled content. This is because clean recyclate is in high demand within the food retail industry. There are also technical difficulties involved in extruding films at the calipers that are required.
Having said that, Royston does have access to some excellent recycled filmic materials, including MarbleBase. This material consists of 20% recycled high-density polyethylene and 80% marble dust, which has been recovered from the marble cutting industry.
This tear-resistant and waterproof material has the look and feel of paper and can be recycled in the conventional recycling stream. It comes at a caliper of 100 microns making it thicker than normal PE/PP filmic materials, and is currently only available in white.
MarbleBase carries a significant price premium when compared to conventional materials – however the cost is worthwhile if your brand prioritises sustainability.
Sustainably Sourced Materials
Another category of sustainable filmic material is bio-based PE film. At Royston we are able to supply two types of film that have been manufactured using sustainably cultivated sugar cane ethanol. These bio-based films function in a very similar way to traditional PE, can be recycled, and are ideal for applications within the food and beverage industries.
Currently we can supply these bio-based films in white and clear. As with MarbleBase, these films are priced higher than traditional PE (typically at 25% more).
Materials with “Enabling Technology”
Some of the materials we use are designed to streamline the recycling process. We utilise an adhesive technology known as CleanFlake, which is becoming increasingly popular.
CleanFlake technology allows for the clean separation of label flakes from a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) container – normally the adhesive wouldn’t separate fully, thus contaminating the plastic. With CleanFlake technology, recycled PET (rPET) is far easier to obtain.
Thinner Caliper Materials
One of the best ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, and waste is to optimise your raw materials by decreasing the size of individual products. At Royston we utilise a range of “Lite” films with a lighter face, adhesive coat weight, and liner. Overall they offer a 16% reduction in material.
Paper materials play a significant role in what we do. Luckily, there are an increasing number of sustainable paper products available. Some of our favourite materials are made from recycled paper, while others use the waste fibres from external industries such as sugar cane production and fruit juice manufacture.
100% Recycled Papers
We have access to several varieties of paper facestock made from 100% recycled materials. These products are very similar in price to regular coated paper stock. They are white and machine coated, with a silky appearance.
65% Recycled Decorative Papers
An alternative to our 100% recycled paper is our 65% recycled decorative paper, ideal for premium products within the Wines & Spirits sector. We offer vanilla and cream “wood-flecked” papers that have an appealing handmade appearance and smooth texture.
Papers Made from Sugar Cane Bagasse
Bagasse is waste fibre made from sugar canes. It can be used to create wood-free paper with a fantastic finish that functions in a similar way to traditional paper materials. This paper material is made from 95% bagasse and 5% hemp and linen. It is white, uncoated and matt.
Fruit Fibre Papers
Recently, paper materials using fruit waste have been developed. At Royston we have access to two varieties: Grape Touch and Apple Touch.
Grape Touch is an uncoated, matt paper facestock made from 15% grape waste, 40% post-consumer recycled fibres and 45% virgin wood pulp. The grape waste is sourced from the wine industry, making Grape Touch a fantastic option for wine labelling.
Apple Touch is similar to Grape Touch in look and feel, but is made with 5% apple waste (left over from apple juice production) and 95% FSC-certified pulp.