Wash-off labels

Examples of adhesive roll labels

We would like to give you an introduction to the diverse world of wash-off labels. This innovative type of washable label offers a combination of long-lasting identification and effortless removal. This makes them an ideal solution for a wide range of applications when it comes to recyclability.

Changing requirements

At the regulatory level, the requirements for packaging are becoming increasingly stringent. In 2022, the EU passed a draft law on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR). It is expected to be ratified in 2024. Many label processing companies are already faced with the demands of large retailers to implement the expected requirements for the recyclability of their packaging.

Expected consequences of PPWR ratification include “extended producer responsibility”, requirements for the minimum recyclability of packaging and fees depending on the degree of recyclability.

Accordingly, mixed packaging made of different materials should be avoided as far as possible. Alternatively, it must be possible to separate them again in the recycling process. Labels in particular must therefore be taken into account in the material cycle when recycling, as they usually do not fall below the contamination threshold. However, PET packaging is often used, which does not meet the recyclability requirements with classic label material.

Wash-off labels as a solution

Wash-off labels, also known as washable labels, are special adhesive labels that stick to surfaces using a water-soluble adhesive layer. This adhesive layer ensures that the label stays securely in place until it comes into contact with a solution of water and caustic solutions, typically at +80°C. This means that the label can be properly and efficiently separated from the PET in the future recycling process.

The recycling process of wash-off labels is as follows:

  • The bottles are crushed and cleaned in a hot caustic solution, usually at +80 °C.
  • The washable labels rise to the surface and transport contaminates away.
  • The clean PET flakes of the bottle sink to the bottom.
  • More of the high-purity PET can be recovered to make new bottles.
Wash-off labels: plastic recycling cycle

Wash-off labels are an innovative and sustainable solution for a wide range of applications. Their ability to easily peel off with water and caustic solutions makes them an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional labels. As a result, they find a wide range of possible uses, especially in the food industry, the cosmetics industry, the beverage industry and in logistics. If you are looking for a durable labeling solution that is easy to remove, then wash-off labels are the ideal choice!

Froben Druck tries to find individual label solutions for every customer and can draw on a lot of experience here. Feel free to contact us directly and let us advise you.

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