The Circular Economy for Labels (CELAB) consortium and Tarsus Group have collaborated to showcase new matrix and release liner collection and recycling initiatives at Labelexpo Europe 2022 in Brussels between 26-29 April next year.
The global CELAB consortium is dedicated to increasing liner and matrix recycling rates to bring the self-adhesive labeling industry into line with circular economy programs promoted by governments and regulators worldwide. In practice, this means the recycled material can be reused in manufacturing new release liner or items of a similarly high value.
CELAB is organized into regional branches, with the European division hosted by Finat. Francesc Egea, director at IPE Labels and Sleeves and Finat’s vice president, represents the association on the CELAB-Europe steering group. Underneath the European steering group, several workstreams are focusing on data mining, liner and matrix recycling technologies, collection logistics, regulatory affairs, and communications.
CELAB-Europe’s membership at this moment (October 2021) includes 32 companies and organizations such as Ahlstrom-Munksjö, All4Labels, Avery Dennison, BASF SE, CCL Label, Delfort, Dow, Elkem, Evonik, Fedrigoni Self-Adhesives, Felix Schoeller Group, Gipea, Finat, Flexcon, Henkel, Herma, Intercoat, Itasa, Lecta, Lintec, Loparex, Mitsubishi, Polyester Film, Momentive, Mondi, Siliconature, Synthomer, Taghleef Industries, Toray Films Europe, UPM Raflatac, UPM Specialty Papers, VskE and Wacker Chemie.
CELAB estimates there are 1.6 million tons of label liner sold worldwide, of which 25 percent in Europe, with a current recycling rate of approximately 20 percent. One of the consortium’s goals is to increase it to above 75 percent of the continent’s used release liner and matrix material to follow a circular route by 2025.
Current CELAB initiatives include a global market research study into material volumes, recycling rates and capabilities conducted by AWA, and a technical review of release liner recycling technologies. Already, two white papers have been released on the recyclability of paper and PET release liners. Further initiatives are in progress or planned, such as a study into the valorization of matrix waste and a collaboration with Petcore to establish a PET liner recyclers network across Europe.
The main challenge to be examined at Labelexpo Europe 2022 is making recycling economically viable in the face of technical complexity and high transportation costs arising from the fragmented distribution of liner and matrix materials.
The CELAB/Tarsus initiative at Labelexpo Europe 2022 reflects a growing emphasis at the show on sustainable technologies.