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  • 08 Jun 2022

UPM Raflatac launches Ocean Action labels

Ocean Action labels are manufactured using ocean bound plastic waste

UPM Raflatac has launched Ocean Action label material made from ocean bound plastic (OBP) waste recovered from areas up to 50km inland from waterways, defined as at risk of ending up in the ocean. The company claims to be the first to invest in OBP waste as label raw materials.

The world desperately needs more sustainable and commercially viable ways to recycle post-consumer plastic. The United Nations has recognized the need to recycle more post-consumer plastic and launched a new plastic pollution treaty in 2021. OBPCert has estimated that ocean bound plastic generates 80 percent of plastic marine litter. Today, only around 10 percent of plastic waste globally gets recycled, while the rest ends up at landfills, in incineration, and leakage to nature or oceans. One solution to this problem lies in creating markets for products made from ocean bound plastic.

'The new innovative Ocean Action label material is the latest step in our beyond fossils journey. It does not only help prevent the plastic waste from ending up in the oceans but also offers brand owners the possibility to meet their recycled content targets for packaging. The Ocean Action label material is an easy-to-use drop-in solution created especially for food and cosmetics end-uses as it has exactly the same performance as the current fossil-based labels,' says Eliisa Laurikainen, business development manager from UPM Raflatac.

The Ocean Action label material is available as White and Clear Top Coated PP films with RP37, RF37, and RP74 adhesives and PET 23 PCR and glassine liners. These label materials are fit for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), such as household goods, personal care, packaged foods, and beverages.

To make Ocean Action label a commercially successful product, UPM Raflatac has collaborated closely with multiple partners in the value chain. The collaboration is necessary to make circular economy a reality. At first stage HHI, a Malaysian-based plastic recycling company collects and sorts the ocean bound plastic waste with its partners. HHI has OBP certification under Zero Plastic Oceans program that ensures the responsible sourcing, proper collection and management of the ocean bound plastic waste.

After collecting and sorting the ocean bound plastic waste, HHI uses chemical recycling to convert the waste into pyrolysis oil. The pyrolysis oil is then used by SABIC to create high-quality PP plastic granulates.

'We are proud to offer our customers another more sustainable choice through the advanced recycling of used plastic that could otherwise end up in our oceans and rivers. These labels containing ocean bound plastic connect with our Trucircle program of circular solutions designed to help reduce plastic waste, mitigate fossil depletion and protect our planet,' said Lada Kurelec, general manager PP, PET, PS, PVC, PU & elastomers businesses for petrochemicals at SABIC.

After SABIC, the plastic granulates are used in the process in which the film manufacturer Taghleef Industries produces the label film that is used to produce the final label material by UPM Raflatac.

'We are proud to be part of this initiative that represents a further step towards a more circular economy, thanks to an efficient reuse of valuable material, and is a responsible effort to preserve our environment, especially for younger generations,' said Simone Baldin, business unit manager – labels Europe, Taghleef Industries.

The plastic waste used in the value chain of making Ocean Action label material is certified under the Zero Plastics Oceans program, and the final label material under ISCC PLUS. The label material is produced using sustainable recycled feedstock, replacing the equivalent amount of virgin fossil resources used in the production process, using a mass balance approach, accounting for the amount of sustainable resources. These verify that the Ocean Action label material is traceable and sustainably sourced.

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