WASHINGTON (Nov. 14, 11:25 p.m. ET) — Two U.S. companies and one Canadian company have developed adhesives that comply with the Retail Council of Canada grocery store initiative which requires that all companies, starting next year, to use thermoformed clamshell food containers made from PET and have labels with approved adhesives.
The Canadian grocers initiative, announced by the country's five largest grocery chains in late June, requires companies to have the adhesives for their labels certified by the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers, whose members represents more than 90 percent of plastic recycling processing capacity in the North America.
The test protocol for approving those adhesives — developed by APR in conjunction with the National Association for PET Container Resources — are designed to certify that adhesives work with existing cleaning systems already in place for recycling PET bottles.
The three label/adhesive combinations approved so far by APR:
• The Fasson Direct-Thermal 200HD label facestock from Avery Dennison Label and Packaging Materials that uses the Mentor, Ohio, company's proprietary S490 emulsion acrylic adhesive.
• The FMTF6 label from Label Supply Co. designed for use on3 mm BOPP film, which uses an acrylic water borne adhesive. Label Supply Co. is the Whitby, Ontario, Can., distributor for the British company by the same name, based in East Sussex.
• The SP184W coated semi-gloss paper label from UPM Raflatac Inc. in Mills River, N.C., that pairs the company's 54# Raflacoat facestock with the company's RP45 modified, water-based acrylic dispersion washable adhesive and a 40# white kraft (2.5 mil) liner.
“We understand the need to recycle one-time use plastic containers, like PET clamshells, as well as the challenges involved in the effort by retailers to create a new, valuable recycling stream from these materials,” says Jean-Marc Borel, specials business director, Americas for UPM Raflatac. “We ... are eager to ... help others find sustainable solutions that promote package reuse and recycling.”
Avery Dennison said its DT 200HD label feedstock has a medium sensitivity thermal coating that provides protection for the thermal layer and is suitable in a wide variety of direct-thermal printers, especially those typically used in grocery weigh-scale applications. They said the feedstock for the label also is resistant to blood, fats, oils, plasticizers found in PVC, alcohols, solvents and vinegar.
“Avery Dennison is committed to innovating new solutions that reduce the environmental impact across the label and packaging value chain,” said Rosalyn Bandy, sustainability manager, Avery Dennison. “This product launch is part of a platform of technologies designed to support the Canadian PET thermoform recycling initiative.”
The Mentor, Ohio, company added that it had three more label/adhesive combinations that it expects APR to approve shortly.
The driver behind the adhesive standard for PET thermoformed containers in Canada is to make their labels compatible with labels that are on PET beverage and water bottles so the containers don't interfere with PET recycling.
Currently, most PET thermoformed containers use pressure-sensitive labels that are applied at the store, with the the entire label usually covered with adhesive.
But that approach can create problems when the packaging is recycled, said APR technical director Dave Cornell, because the glues are often so strong that the label cannot be efficiently removed from the plastic.
Mike Schedler, technical director for NAPCOR, agreed.
“PET thermoform containers [currently] use non-friendly adhesives compared to the bottle stream,” he said. “It costs so much to remove them that it makes the process inefficient because it increases processing time.”
Products that pass the APR protocols for adhesives will be posted on the APR website. Cornell said several other adhesives are nearing approval.
For more information, visit http://www.plasticsrecycling.org/pet-thermoforms.
For a listing of the approved adhesives/labels, visit http://www.plasticsrecycling.org/images/stories/doc/conforming_materials_evaluation_2.pdf