Tuesday, October 20, 2015

New glass labeling adhesive can mean cleaner recycling


Dive Brief:

  • Avery Dennison announced new technology that allows separation of self-adhesive labels from glass pieces to facilitate recycling. The company says it can reduce the amount of glass going to landfill to 1.5kg per metric ton (vs. 40kg currently), and it can limit label fragment contamination to 2% of label material (vs. up to 74%).
  • The company's materials use a "switchable" adhesive, which is engineered for easy label removal from the bottle surface in the recycling stream. The company says the transition to the new labeling material requires no investment in new equipment or changes in existing processes.
  • Recycling is a key element of sustainable packaging, says Vladimir Tyulpin, business development and product manager at Avery Dennison Materials Group Europe. Also this year, Avery Dennison and Belgian-based Seliplast AG launched a recycling option for label matrix waste made of polypropylene and polyethylene.

Dive Insight:

The cost of disposing glass has been taking a toll on companies in the industry. In many cities like Chattanooga, glass recyclables are going to a landfill because MRFs are not equipped to handle the material. In Kansas City, MO, so much beer bottle glass goes to the landfill that a man — who originally founded a beer company — started a glass recycling company to try to reduce waste.
However, recent reports in Europe have proved that glass recycling is not dead across the globe. In fact, it hit an all-time high of 73% in Europe in 2013, according to the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE).

"The high glass recycling rate of 73% shows that the glass packaging model is the best performing closed-loop business model, but more resources need to be invested to improve glass recycling even further and especially in countries lagging behind," said FEVE President Vitaliano Torno in September.

If methods such as Avery Dennison's labeling technology can be applied across the U.S. recycling industry to help improve glass recycling, it will have a chance to make a profitable comeback.

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