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Innovative PO shrink sleeve film label from UPM Raflatac demonstrated to significantly boost recycling rates

UPM Raflatac will present the results of a full-body shrink sleeve label recycling study, featuring the company's new RafShrink PO MDO 40 HS product, at the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) Technical Forum in New Orleans, Louisiana, today. The study, conducted with Plastic Forming Enterprises, will demonstrate that RafShrink, a polyolefin-based, roll-fed shrink film label provides significant recyclability gains over PETG labels, currently the industry-standard film label for shrink sleeve applications, when used with clear PET bottles.

With their ability to provide a 360-degree product presentation, shrink sleeve films are one of the fastest growing label segments, growing at 5.5% CAGR and expected to reach 12,750 million square meters in sales in 2018, according to AWA Alexander Watson Associates. However, global brand owners are actively seeking ways to increase the recyclability of shrink sleeved PET containers to reduce their environmental footprint.

RafShrink PO MDO 40 HS provides superior branding on complex container shapes due to its high MDO shrinkage of 61% at 95°C and its best-in-class haze at 3%, high clarity and gloss. The shrink film also can be applied at high speeds, labeling more than 50,000 containers per hour. During the recycling process, the polyolefin material ensures clean separation from clear PET bottles by floating to the top of the caustic washing solution, unlike PVC and PETG labels, which sink with PET bottle material. RafShrink PO MDO 40 HS meets the Critical Guidance by Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) and by European Plastic Bottle Platform (EPBP).

"We are proud to offer a polyolefin-based shrink sleeve film, RafShrink PO MDO 40 HS, for the food and beverage market. RafShrink meets global manufacturers' exacting requirements for a lightweighted full-body shrink sleeve solution that delivers exceptional branding, productivity and sustainability," says Markus Kivelä, Product Manager, Shrink Sleeve Films, UPM Raflatac.

The research study tested RafShrink PO against PETG labels on clear and colored PET bottles and other packaging materials. RafShrink PO labels provided average detection rates of 92% versus 40% for PETG sleeve labels when tested at six leading near infrared (NIR) equipment manufacturers. The study shows that clear PET bottles can be detected by NIR sorting equipment even when covered with a full-body PO-based shrink sleeve. As a result, brand owners who use RafShrink PO MDO 40 HS can significantly improve the PET packaging recyclability rates, while ensuring that the recycled clear PET containers continue to provide the outstanding clarity and quality they require for reuse on global food and beverage products.

Markus Kivelä and Kristina Hansen, Technical Director, Plastics Forming Enterprises will co-present study results at the APR panel, "Steps to Improve Bale Quality," from 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM EST on Monday, February 1, 2016, at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans in Celestin Ballroom A-C. The session is open to the media.