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The impossible made possible: UPM Raflatac's VANISH fit for labelling recyclable aluminium beverage cans in Europe

Beverage cans labelled with UPM Raflatac's VANISHTM film can now be recycled in Europe. Novelis, the world's largest recycler of aluminium cans, confirms that the thin 23-micron VANISHTM label has proven sufficiently light in order not to affect the quality of the recycled aluminium.

UPM Raflatac's ultra-thin VANISHTM PET film enables three functionalities previously considered unviable or impossible: self-adhesive labelling on beverage cans, recyclability with aluminium cans, and the opportunity for beverage brands to market small batches cost-effectively.

Cost-efficiency and flexibility for small batches

The Saimaan Juomatehdas brewery in Finland is the first company in Europe to adopt VANISHTM by launching a craft beer in labelled aluminium cans, which are integrated into a refundable deposit system for recycling. The recycling system for beverage containers in Finland is renowned as the world's most effective. Returnable, refundable deposit cans are the most recycled container category, with a recycling rate as high as 95%.

In particular, and because direct-printed cans aren't manufactured in small volumes, self-adhesive labelling is a necessity for canning smaller batches cost-effectively. Self-adhesive labels can also be produced quickly in comparison to directly decorated cans, enabling beverage producers to respond flexibly to consumer demand and engage in promotional activity without risking container overstocks.

"Saimaan Juomatehdas is committed to sustainability, so we wanted to come up with a canning solution for our smaller beverage batches that would match our principles. We explored different options and discovered the VANISHTM label material. Together with UPM Raflatac and Auraprint, a printing house specializing in labeling solutions, we started looking into the possibility of applying it to recyclable cans - and everything started to fall into place," comments Jussi Laukkanen, CEO, Saimaan Juomatehdas.

Striking levels of differentiation

VANISHTM brings all the visual presentation benefits of self-adhesive label printing technology to canned beverages, especially compared to traditional direct print. Together with an impressive no-label look, new levels of product differentiation are achievable with striking decoration opportunities and premium finishes such as high-gloss and vivid colouration, fine detail and photographic imaging. 

"Our end-customers in the beverage industry place high value on their product packaging. VANISHTM is an attractive and exceptionally versatile label material - and an ideal choice for companies like Saimaan Juomatehdas which strive to create high-quality products that are visually impressive," evaluates Tuomo Wall, Director, Films, UPM Raflatac. 

"VANISHTM also introduces a solution for product decoration on smaller batches of beer and other beverages in a way that's economically viable and at the same time environmentally conscious. Brand owners in Europe now have a recycling-compatible choice for greatly enhanced product presentation that meets their own as well as UPM Raflatac's commitment to providing sustainable solutions."