UPM Raflatac has unveiled the ‘world’s first’ RecyClass-certified paper label material to be compatible with rigid HDPE and PP containers, intending to unlock whole-pack recyclability for soap bottles, washing detergent containers, and other solutions.

According to test results, the New Wave paper label material is compatible with existing recycling processes – even those for natural and white materials, which require a high purity of recyclate. The label is said to wash off cleanly using plain, chemical-free water at a temperature of 40°C.

Further testing apparently revealed that recycling a New Wave label does not result in fibre loss, which prevents contamination in recycling streams and provides high-quality recyclate for further packaging production. As such, it is set to benefit the recycling process for rigid plastic packaging and help brand owners in their pursuit of circularity.

Since it is reportedly the first RecyClass-certified paper label material to receive a Letter of Compatibility for use on rigid HDPE and PP containers – confirming the material’s compatibility with industrial-scale recycling technologies – the solution is anticipated to help whole packaging solutions achieve RecyClass certification.

New Wave is designed for functionality in the full life cycle of home and personal care products, among others. It is currently available to customers in EMEIA, with the Asian market soon to follow.

“When brands choose the New Wave Label material for their rigid HDPE or PP packaging, they can make the full package eligible for RecyClass certification,” explains Robert Taylor, director of Sustainability at UPM Raflatac. “Brand owners will not have to test the packaging further if all packaging components have either a letter of compatibility, a technology approval letter, or the material choice meets RecyClass Design for Recycling Guidelines.”

Sylwia Jurys, vice president of Paper Laminates at UPM Raflatac, adds: “This launch marks a significant breakthrough in our efforts to enhance the circularity of plastic packaging. As regulations such as the European Packaging and Packaging Wate Regulation (PPWR) continue to evolve, we have worked with RecyClass to provide a solution that not only meets strict recycling criteria but also sets a new standard for sustainable packaging.

“We are proud to lead the way in recyclable packaging solutions, helping brand owners meet their sustainability targets and close the loop to support a circular packaging economy.”

UPM Raflatac highlights its goal of becoming the ‘world’s first’ label materials company to go beyond fossils in line with its Beyond Fossils commitment. The New Wave label is expected to contribute to this effort.

The news comes after RecyClass deemed UPM Raflatac’s PE films with multipurpose UV acrylic adhesive technology recyclable with coloured and natural PE flexible films. UPM Raflatac is thought to be the first pressure-sensitive laminate producer to be approved in this category.

The company has also revealed its Carbon Action Plastic Labels portfolio; the move is hoped to help customers lower the carbon footprint of their packaging materials, as well as demonstrate UPM Raflatac’s commitment to the United Nations’ climate action initiatives.

Another label-related development saw Gamma Supplies Ltd reveal its certified paper-based, home-compostable, and biodegradable label. Designed for direct contact with fresh produce, it claims to degrade at the same rate as food skins without leaving harmful toxins behind.

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