Self-adhesive labels: adding value in the sustainability arena


The sustainability chain

THERE CAN be few industries in which the word ‘sustainability’ can be defined in such depth and detail as self-adhesive labelling,” says Jules Lejeune, managing director of the self-adhesive label industry association FINAT. “The lengthy and complex value chain means that our members are challenged to interact at many levels and in many ways with the environmental agenda. The chain begins with raw materials such as paper, films, polymers, and chemicals. It continues through energy-efficient lamination and label converting and the recycling of processing waste; and concludes only with disposal with recycling-friendly consumer packaging.”

Technology innovations

There are many different disciplines introducing innovations in technology that also contribute to an improved environment. These include adhesives which address the problems of ‘stickies’ in the re-pulping of self-adhesive labels; the reduction of energy costs and on-press print substrate waste through a lean manufacturing mindset; ‘best practice’ in inks to avoid contamination of foods from their packaging; and linerless labels, effectively removing one of the industry’s biggest recycling challenges. A blueprint for good health and safety practices in the label press room; the use of web-based, collaborative pre-press and print management software to enable packaging printers to produce locally but manage globally.

Call to action

Mike Fairley – an international expert on all aspects of the labelling industry – draws attention to an area where he feels it a real need to issue a call to action. The label industry must, he says, ‘start being proactive, not reactive’ in the broader sustainability arena, because brand owners are increasingly committed to environmental initiatives. Global companies like Procter & Gamble and Unilever are now pressing for the establishment of global environmental/sustainability standards: national or regional schemes are no longer of interest.

The inauguration of the Global Packaging Project in 2010 unites the world’s biggest brands and packaging groups in a drive to end the long-running arguments about packaging’s environmental, social, and economic impact. Its starting point is the development of a common language of definitions. There is currently no representation from the self-adhesive label community in this trailblazing initiative, but the leading industry trade organisations around the world are committed to obtaining admission and providing active representation.

Environmental certification

As well as the Global Packaging Project, there are many other ways in which the self-adhesive label industry can engage with sustainability in the broader packaging community of which it is an important part. Environmental management systems such as ISO 14001, Lean Six Sigma, and the US-based Tag and Label Manufacturers Institute’s industry-specific ‘LIFE’ system (‘Label Initiative For the Environment’) offer opportunities for suppliers and converters to achieve environmental certification that is recognised by brand owners.

Label converters can also develop a measurable materials efficiency waste management strategy aligned to end users’ goals on carbon impact, and demonstrate a commitment to the use of recycled material content. Mr Fairley warns that, at a commercial level, some brand owners are using their environmental agenda to drive a supplier rationalisation programme – with obvious negative prospects for label converters who do not espouse their values.

Sustainable market growth

The self-adhesive label industry’s future very much depends on sustainable market growth, and there are channels through which this can be achieved. Innovation in label applications, including out-of-the-box promotional solutions and the versatility of self-adhesive labels in specialty segments such as security labelling, are good examples. Persuading brand owners to change from an alternative product decoration technology to self-adhesive labels is an additional opportunity, and it can be made more attractive by current environmental initiatives such as substrate and liner downgauging and the use of ‘green’ – recycled or recyclable – materials.

Adding value

While the self-adhesive label industry now has sustainability right at the top of its agenda, there is still plenty of room for action – action that must involve participants at every level of the value chain if the self-adhesive label is to retain its rightful place as the most versatile and flexible means of product decoration, offering brand owners the opportunity to choose proven sustainable solutions for labelling their products that also, genuinely, add value.


T: +31-70-3123910


Microsite goes live

THE ROLL Materials division of Avery Dennison Corporation has launched, a new microsite focused on pressure-sensitive labelling.

The new microsite demonstrates to visitors the visual impact and operational efficiencies of pressure-sensitive labels. It targets packaging designers, brand managers and packaging engineers within consumer packaged goods companies serving the food, beverage/beer, wine, home and personal care segments.

“Fasson branded pressure-sensitive labelling technology from Avery Dennison offers consumer goods companies more impact in the way they present their brands to the market,’ says Henrik Kajueter, vice president, marketing, for Avery Dennison Roll Materials Europe. ‘As an innovative alternative to other labelling technologies, pressure-sensitive labelling boasts an array of benefits such as versatility, improved shelf-appeal, functionality, better end-use performance, capital and operational efficiencies, and simplified operations. is a definitive source for pressure-sensitive dialogue and information about these benefits.”


T: +44 1442 87555


Splicer debut

MARTIN AUTOMATIC enjoyed a very successful 2010 Labelexpo Americas,” said vice president of sales and marketing, Gavin Rittmeyer. The company gave an expo debut to its new MBSC/STR package and also exhibited its flagship MBSF splicer and LRD rewinder. “We sold two MBSC units to a label converter in the southwest and one MBSF to a label converter in Ohio,” he added. Another high point at the Martin booth was a draw for an iPad for those customers who filled out an ROI form. The winner was a west coast label printer.

Rittmeyer explained: “The economy in 2009 forced companies to be more innovative with their production.” The MBSC/STR package is the result of Martin’s research into the needs of narrow web printers. “We knew there was a need for a splicer that was optimised for the narrow web market, and input from customers and ROI data have shown that we were correct,” he concluded.


T: +49 7946 942881


No liners for labels

CHILLED FOOD specialist Ravenwood Packaging came to Pack Expo in Chicago last month with examples of the very latest in liner-less adhesive backed labels.

Ravenwood has now sold in excess of 750 machines to over 100 customers, who are selecting the high quality sleevers, applicators and labels to enhance the image of their finished products. Ravenwood’s customers are drawn mostly from the chilled food sector, buying Nobac 125, 400 and 500 labellers and sleevers but the company is already broadening its client base through the introduction of innovative new packaging ideas to include other
industry sectors including drinks, healthcare, pharmaceutical, cosmetics and toiletries.

On display in Chicago was the Nobac 125 labeller, a small and relatively conventional labelling system that is introducing new customers to the liner-less labelling system. It eliminates the need for wasteful, non-recyclable backing papers, and the absence of backing material means that reel changes quicker and easier.

The Nobac 400 and Nobac 500 systems have been specifically developed for retailers and packers. The sleevers are inline machines, designed for maximum flexibility, eliminating the need to turn the packs. They are capable of applying sleeves in a number of formats including top, top and side, top and two sides, C-wrap, and full wrap and the wrapping of irregular packs such as whole birds. The machines have been designed to have control of both ends of the label in the feed system, improving positional accuracy of the label around the package. The labels can be made from slightly thicker than normal material, minimising wrinkling on application.


T: +44 (0) 1284 749144



Offset wine vintage

THE NILPETER MO-4 offset combination press’s first job for wine label customer Grafiche Federighi comprised an order for 160,000 labels placed by one of Italy’s leading wine producers. The job was printed five colours offset with a flexo-printed gold effect and a matt varnish. The labels were destined for a special edition of a premium-quality wine exported to importers in the UK and US markets. The company previously produced this and similar label orders on a semi-rotary offset press, but the MO-4 is said to deliver an improved appearance with faster setups.

Grafiche Federighi, Camerata Picena, bought the new press that is expected to significantly boost production of high-quality wine labels to allow further expansion in this sector. In September it was upgraded with a new type of flatbed foiling and embossing unit developed by Nilpeter.

The fourth-generation MO-4 is an offset-based combination press with a maximum web width of 406mm. The flexible platform technology allows many bespoke configurations for day-to-day operations, giving quick switches between a choice of UV-flexo, rotary screen, and gravure printing processes, plus hot and cold foil. It can also run with Nilpeter’s new HoloPrint module for printing holographic images in register directly onto any web-fed paper or film substrate using a special UV-cured varnish.


T: +45 58 50 11 66


Label uses waste

NEWPAGE CORPORATION has introduced of EcoPoint Plus, a new high-performance bottle label paper featuring 10 percent post-consumer waste (PCW) recycled fibre. EcoPoint Plus is third-party chain-of-custody certified to the Forest Stewardship Council, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes.

Available in 70, 75 and 80 grams per square metre (gsm) basis weights, EcoPoint Plus features a bright, white, high-fidelity print surface for excellent artwork reproduction in offset and rotogravure printing.


T: +1 (715) 345-5046



Another new Tau

DURST ANNOUNCES the launch of the new Tau 150 with eight colors and the new digital printing modules for Rotoworx 330 finishing systems offering digital varnish and VDP capability.

The new Tau 150-8C offers a ‘whole new range’ of colour configurations to cover the majority of requested label printing applications. Its standard colour configuration CMYK +W can now be completed with Orange and Violet colour thus offering a 90 percent coverage of the Pantone colour gamut.

Additionally, Tau 150-8C can be equipped with a digital varnish print module for digital spot varnish applications, generating different gloss levels with only one fluid in a single pass at the time of printing the label jobs, allowing converters to produce new value added products in a fully automated and very efficient workflow.

Also new is the high speed Tau 150 VDP option, which allows full label-to-label variability at highest printing speeds of the Tau press.

Like the existing Tau 150 model, the new Tau 150-8C covers web widths from 10 cm to a maximum 16,5cm and reaches an industry leading throughput speed of close to 50 m/min resulting in substantially improved return on investment for the label printer.


T: +39 3488 706 689



Expanded range

XEIKON HAS introduced the Xeikon 3000 Series, its expanded range of four dedicated digital label presses. All the presses in the Xeikon 3000 series handle the entire gamut of digital label production right from data preparation through printing and finishing.

“Our new Xeikon 3500 press takes the break even point to more than 4,000 linear metres (~14,000 linear ft) as compared to conventional technologies. And our expanded Xeikon 3000 Series portfolio offers something for everyone who is seriously interested in the digital label market. Xeikon is pushing the transition from analogue to digital production in the growing label market,” says Filip Weymans, business development manager labels and packaging, Xeikon.


T: +32 (0)3 443 19 18