Brand owners in New Zealand are facing growing pressure to change due to the environmental problems caused by the waste and pollution crisis. According to the NZ Packaging Council, New Zealanders consume about 735,000 tonnes of packaging every year and recycle only about 58 per cent. The New Zealand market is facing a huge need to develop more sustainable products and solutions. To reduce plastic waste, there needs to be more recyclable packaging – which applies not only to the containers, but the label liners as well.
Rising environmental pressure has pushed brand owners to turn to their suppliers for help in seeking a truly sustainable solution to maximise the recyclability of consumer packages. Kiwi Labels is eager to tell the market how it is helping to reduce plastic waste.
“Because of the negative environmental impact from plastic waste and confusing information in the New Zealand market, we really wanted to do something with our labels. But the problem is that the standard label solution hinders the recycling process because it sticks on the recyclate, unlike the wash-off label. And because the recyclers use old machinery, the label choice matters even more,” says Guy Phillips, General Manager at Kiwi Labels.
Kiwi Labels typically delivers transparent labels to its customers, which causes some difficulties for the PET recycling stream due to the absence of recycler detecting systems. Kiwi Labels is eagerly pushing the industry to improve recycling by offering new and innovative packaging solutions to help recyclers deliver clean PET recyclates for further use.
Luckily, Kiwi labels discovered UPM Raflatac’s RW85C PET wash-off solution, which is part of the Finnish label stock manufacturer’s SmartCircle sustainable product offering. Unlike traditional label materials, wash-off label solutions for PET containers separate easily during the industrial washing process, floating away from the high-value, clean PET flakes and allowing a greater yield to be recovered without contamination. These flakes can be converted into new pellets for PET packaging, reducing waste and supporting the circular economy.
After successful trials with the RW85C PET wash-off solution, any remaining concerns disappeared, and Kiwi Labels gained new business from brand owners.
“UPM Raflatac’s solution really works well. It enhances the efficiency of the PET recycling process without requiring any changes to our existing labelling equipment,” Phillips adds.
At the 2020 Australasian Packaging Innovation & Design Awards (PIDA). Kiwi Labels demonstrated its success with the new UPM Raflatac RW85C PET wash-off solution. The sustainable label solution was nominated in two categories, ultimately taking home bronze in the Sustainable Packaging Design Special Award – Retail Pack category. The award came as a high mark of recognition for printing excellence and leadership in sustainable packaging.
UPM Raflatac is labelling a smarter future beyond fossils by innovating sustainable solutions. Not only has the company extended its sustainable portfolio with products like PET wash-off label materials, it is also providing more eco-friendly services, such as RafCycle.
“UPM Raflatac is enthusiastic to innovate solutions enhancing recycling,” notes New Zealand Country Manager Philip Bracey “As a leading player in our field, we have the responsibility to challenge the industry norms and build a smarter future together. We constantly improve the sustainability of our labelling solutions and lead by example. For us, improving circularity is not about reinventing the wheel, but providing solutions that fit into current recycling infrastructure.”
With its strong commitment to leadership in sustainable labelling, UPM Raflatac’s solutions help converters like Kiwi Labels become frontrunners in the industry by increasing both product recyclability and reuse. It is a truly sustainable solution which proves that labels can contribute significantly to unlocking a more sustainable future.