Two U.S. companies and one Canadian company have developed adhesives that comply with the Toronto-based Retail Council of Canada's grocery store initiative. Starting next year, the initiative will require all companies 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 label adhesives 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 the adhesives — developed by Washington-based 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 are:
* 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 on 3-millimeter, biaxially oriented polypropylene film, which uses an acrylic, waterborne adhesive. Label Supply Co. is the Whitby, Ontario, distributor for the British company by the same name, based in Eastbourne.
* The SP184W coated, semi-gloss paper label from UPM Raflatac Inc. in Mills River, N.C., which pairs the company's 54-pound Raflacoat facestock with the its RP45 modified, water-based, acrylic dispersion, washable adhesive and a 40-pound 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,” said Jean-Marc Borel, Americas specials business director 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 variety of direct-thermal printers, especially those typically used in grocery weigh-scale applications. The company said the feedstock for the label also resists 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 sustainability manager Rosalyn Bandy. “This product launch is part of a platform of technologies designed to support the Canadian PET thermoform recycling initiative.”
The Mentor, Ohio, company said it has 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 on PET beverage and water bottles so the containers don't interfere with PET recycling.
Most thermoformed PET containers use pressure-sensitive labels applied at the store, with the entire label usually covered with adhesive. The glues are often so strong that the label cannot be efficiently removed from the plastic.
Mike Schedler, technical director with Sonoma, Calif.-based NAPCOR, said the time and money needed to remove some adhesives make the process inefficient.
Products that pass the APR protocols for adhesives will be posted on the APR website. APR technical director Dave Cornell said several other adhesives are nearing approval.