Eliminate liners and waste at source, and create single-material packaging-label systems that do not create problems during recycling. These are the two paths taken by Fedrigoni Self-Adhesives to create high-tech “green” labels that are also highly advantageous in economic terms.

Prevent, i.e. avoid waste and scrap, and reduce the amount of material needed to make the label. And encourage recycling by developing solutions for mono-material packaging. This is how Sergio Veneziani, Global Product Manager Linerless at Fedrigoni Self-Adhesives, defines the dual strategy adopted by the company to ensure the environmental compatibility of its products and processes. In both cases, the paper group, which today is responsible for Ritrama-Arconvert know-how and self-adhesive products, presses the accelerator of R&D and proposes a series of innovative solutions that allow label manufacturers to offer brands and distributors important advantages in terms of eco-sustainability and savings.

Prevent: liner away!

Core Linerless Solutions® is the exclusive technology that has created a complete material-machine platform to produce linerless labels. This solves the problem of having to dispose, at the end of the process, of huge quantities of siliconised material, with ever-increasing collection and recycling costs. “In Italy in 2019 they have more than doubled,” recalls Veneziani, who emphasizes how this label also boasts functional and aesthetic merits. Its peculiarity is that the silicone liner is not discarded but becomes the lamination of the product, which thus acquires great resistance. The aesthetic quality also gains in brilliance and impact, without requiring surface treatments or new printing technologies.

A more sustainable label Validated in the challenging conditions of speed and humidity of the beverage, in the factories of AB-InBev (the world’s leading producer of beer, Ed.), CLS is much thinner than normal. Consisting of a 30-micron PP, 12-micron siliconized PET multifunctional smart liner and a high-performance, transparent acrylic adhesive, it is half the thickness of traditional laminated PP structures.

In addition, explains the manager, it eliminates the gap separating one label from the other, saving a lot of material and avoiding the production of waste. The two characteristics added together – less thickness and no waste – make it possible to transport at least twice as many labels on a reel and, therefore, to start delivering half as many reels, cutting down on storage and transport costs.

A sustainable label for variable data

The other cornerstone of Fedrigoni Self-Adhesives’ “preventive” sustainability concerns VIP (Variable Information Printing) labels made of self-adhesive thermal paper, typically used in supermarket weigh-pricing machines or on online commerce boxes to display traceability and identification bar codes.

Laws and benefits «Since 2017 – Veneziani recalls – EU regulation 1169/2011 has been in force, which obliges all producers – not only brand owners, but also distribution signs for own-brand products – to provide the nutritional information of foods produced and packed in the point of sale. These data vary greatly depending on the type of product».

At first, says the manager, in order to avoid logistic and managerial complications, in the large scale retail trade the idea was to adopt labels of the same size for all types of products – the maximum size, of course, able to accommodate all information that needed to be reported.

«From a subsequent cost / benefit analysis, however, it emerged that the use of standard labels would have led to enormous waste of material and increased costs, also generating great confusion in the consumer, once he was in front of a partially printed label.

The solution to this problem is clearly represented by the linerless rolls that allow the creation of labels with variable length according to the amount of data they have to report, allowing an optimized paper consumption».

Fedrigoni Self-Adhesives’ DTL labels are continuous thermal paper rolls, adhesive-coated with a silicon coating that can be printed with normal technologies, die-cut automatically at the end of each print. “The economic advantages – documents Veneziani -as well as the ecological ones, are obvious: our DTLs allow for material savings of up to 60%».

Single-material openers for wet wipes

Before the pandemic, it seemed that wet wipes would have to suffer the fate of other disposables banned by environmental protection legislation.

The arrival of covid-19 has highlighted the role of hygienic protection of people and surfaces, and today they are experiencing a very lively development. However, the enormous amount of packaging made of heterogeneous plastics remains to be disposed of: the packaging, the different label, the protective seal, the sturdy open-and-close lid… a nice mix of composite materials, difficult and costly to separate and recycle.

Fedrigoni Self-Adhesives has taken a decisive step in the direction of single-material packaging and, in collaboration with Amcor Flexibles, has developed a leaner, lighter package that can be disposed of without problems in the supply chain.

Complex work, simple results

As converters well know, PP and PE have different behaviors and properties of printability, weldability and barrier, all of which are essential.

“It was therefore a great achievement to obtain structures made entirely of PP, and then all of PE, with the requirements of product protection and brand image. We got there by working on the very concept of the lid opener: our new label consists of only 1 piece instead of 3; it is semi-rigid to ensure the same effectiveness and ergonomics as the lid, which is no longer needed here; it adopts an adhesive that is resistant to the aggressive chemistry of wipes.

All this weighs less than a gram, against the usual 5 or 6, is much easier to apply to the package, and of course also to dispose of. Together with the manufacturer of the packaging we really do a great service to both the user and the environment. And once again we are offering a product that costs much less than the traditional one.