APR recognizes innovators of label technologies

Avery Dennison, Polysack and Plastipak are among those recognized.

June 11, 2014
Recycling Today Staff

The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR),  Washington, has recognized five companies for designing new products that meet or exceed the voluntary guidelines under APR’s Critical and Applications Guidance Recognition Program. The recognition is designed to support companies that create packaging and products that do not disrupt and contaminate plastic recycling streams, the trade group says.

The APR says the five companies each recently petitioned to receive recognition for sleeve, pressure-sensitive or direct-print labels that meet APR's most stringent testing guidance. The 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 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.”

According to John Standish, APR technical director, “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.” 

The association says its Full Sleeve Label Working Group 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 (polyethylene terephthalate) or that use label ink can that stain recovered PET are undesirable in PET recycling. The 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 criteria. APR says it believes the 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 APR’s strictest guidance for pressure-sensitive labels. The APR notes that the 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 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, the group notes.