Wash-off labels

Immerse yourself in the versatile world of wash-off labels – an intelligent answer to increasing packaging requirements. These washable labels combine long-lasting identification with effortless removal, providing ideal solutions for various recycling applications.

Changes in requirements

The requirements for packaging are continually increasing at the regulatory level. In 2022, the EU passed a draft law on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), which is scheduled to be ratified by 2024. Label manufacturers are already facing demands from major retailers who are pushing for early implementation of these future recycling standards.

Expected impacts following PPWR ratification include, for example, “extended producer responsibility”, recycling quotas for packaging and fee-based recycling depending on the level of recyclability.

It is generally advisable to avoid mixed packaging. However, if mixed packaging is explicitly desired or required, it must be easy to separate in the recycling process. Labels in particular are of central importance in recycling, as they often exceed the contamination limit. PET packaging is often used in practice, but does not meet recycling standards with conventional label material.

Sustainable labeling with wash-off labels

In order to comply with the upcoming requirements of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation for mixed packaging, wash-off labels are an option. These special adhesive labels, also known as washable labels, adhere securely to surfaces thanks to a water-soluble adhesive layer. However, the special properties of the adhesive enable easy separation in the recycling process if the label is treated with water and alkaline solution at usually 80° C by the waste disposal company.

In the future, this recycling process will take place in several stages:

  1. The bottles are hexed and cleaned in hot alkaline solution at approximately +80 °C.
  2. The washable labels rise to the surface and can be removed separately. No contamination from the adhesive remains on the PET.
  3. The pure PET flakes in the bottle sink to the bottom.
  4. This highly pure PET is a raw material for the production of new bottles.

This makes wash-off labels an innovative and environmentally friendly answer to the upcoming requirements for recycling packaging material. Numerous applications can be found, especially in the food, logistics and cosmetics industries.

At Wolfgang Fels GmbH, your requirements are the focus. We are already planning in advance what consequences the future of packaging recycling will have for our customers and their products and offer you future-proof and sustainable labels. Please feel free to contact us directly and get advice.

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