Is there a way for label printers and converters for produce a self-adhesive label in a sustainable way? Label-Experts.com talks to Jenny Wassenaar, Compliance & Sustainability Director at Avery Dennison, about the supplier`s definition of sustainability and what print shops can do for being more sustainable.
1) The demand for sustainable products is growing with the increasing awareness of consumers. Customers of printing companies are asking more and more for sustainable labels. What can label printer and converter do for being sustainable?
Jenny Wassenaar, Compliance & Sustainability Director at Avery Dennison
Jenny Wassenaar: What is key in the selection of a label is what we call "eco-design" which means that in the design of the final packaging the end-of-life of the all the materials are considered as well as their interaction in the recycling. In general, sustainability in labeling materials in Avery Dennison is centered around the following 3 main groups of products: Responsibly sourced – Reduce – Recycle. The last group we have further defined as labels with recycled content and labels that enable recycling of the substrate they are placed on. Selecting a product out of these categories will support a more sustainable life style.
2) Is there a sustainable way to produce a self-adhesive label?
Jenny Wassenaar: In the production of a label among others energy and raw materials are brought together. In the raw materials we select chemicals, films and papers that follow the natural step principle which is translated in the Avery Dennison 2025 sustainability goals. For example, we will make sure that by 2025 100% of the paper we source is certified (for example via FSC) and in chemicals we make sure that the materials we use are following our restricted substances list which is driven by REACH. Then, on the sites itself we ensure that greenhouse gas is reduced by 3% year over year even in case production increases. Finally, our operations will be 95% landfill-free, with 75% of our waste repurposed.
3) What is your definition of being sustainable in the label industry?
Jenny Wassenaar: Being sustainable is collaborating with our value chain partners to develop more and more sustainable alternatives and share the knowledge within the eco-system and our customers on how to handle label packaging materials in the most sustainable way.
4) How could a label printer and converter approach the problem of label waste, especially matrix, and its recycling?
Jenny Wassenaar: Ideally, we would like to create useful by-products out of the value chain materials however this is complex. Matrix waste is a combination of different materials (core, paper/film and adhesives). Currently the matrix waste can be recycled in specialized companies of which some of them can be found on the Avery Dennison "Find a recycler" website: https://label.averydennison.com/eu/en/home/customer-tools-eu/recycler-map.html
Within Avery Dennison we are always interested to explore more and alternative opportunities to recycle the by-products of our industry. Hence this is an open invitation to contact us to explore your suggestions.
Jenny Wassenaar from Avery Dennison
5) What could a supplier do for making narrow web applications more sustainable?
Jenny Wassenaar: For suppliers we look at the individual elements of a label in relation to the final label and its purpose in the supply chain. Practically suppliers can for example focus on increasing the percentage of recycled content or developing alternative grades that make thinner constructions possible.
Thank you very much!
Interview was conducted by Rosina Obermayer
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