“Spotlight on Award Winners” is a series of articles featuring winners from the 2014 Environmental Leader Product & Project Awards. Look for the 2015 Awards call for submissions in early September.
Avery Dennison’s CleanFlake portfolio, a collection of label materials developed to advance the recycling of PET containers, is appropriate for bottles, thermoforms, and other PET containers, the company says. The product is designed to eliminate yield loss in the recycling stream caused by labels and adhesives, was designed in accordance with the APR Design for Recyclability, and has passed all third-party lab tests and recycling tests.
Avery Dennison worked with raw material suppliers and reclaimers to solve the challenge of improving the recyclability of PET containers. Direct printing, paper labels and standard pressure-sensitive labels applied to PET bottles tend to lower the recycling efficiency and the quality of recycled PET. In 2010, 1.5 billion pounds of PET were collected for recycling in the United States, yet reclaimers reported yield losses ranging from 24.4 percent to 32.2 percent due to contamination by labels, adhesives and other components — amounting to a loss of over 40 million pounds of bottles. CleanFlake is a patent-pending adhesive technology that “switches off” when submerged in a caustic bath so the label cleanly separates from the PET flakes. Although these labels adhere firmly to PET bottles or containers during use, they detach readily in a conventional recycling facility and rise to the surface in the float/sink separation phase, allowing clean PET flakes to sink for easier reclamation.
Darrell Hughes, VP and general manager of Avery Dennison Materials Group North America, says the technology offers the industry a solution that will allow more high-quality recycled PET to enter the supply stream.