Recycling

The FINAT Sustainability, Recycling and Regulatory Affairs Committees are actively working to inform members, initiate new projects and to represent the common interest of the members towards decision makers at a European level in the areas of legislation, recycling and sustainability.

Aspects of release liner recycling

What is the proposition?

Release liner is used as carrier for labels on industrial and consumer goods, and fulfils a crucial role in the manufacture, conversion and application of self-adhesive products.

But after fulfilling their role in this process, used liners still have a role to play as valuable feedstock for new processes and products. Currently, a small proportion of spent release liner materials is collected for reuse or recycling. With the growing availability of sustainable and economically-viable recycling solutions, the growing cost of alternative disposal, as well as the increasing emphasis on corporations’ responsibility to society and the planet, this proportion can and should improve.

As the European association for the self-adhesive label industry, FINAT has set itself the target to support its member companies to explore and exploit common recycling solutions, and to provide the gateway to identify opportunities for collection and recycling.

In addition, FINAT has joined the European Recovered Paper Council (ERPC) and supports the European Declaration for Paper Recycling, which sets out measures aimed at optimising the management of recovered paper throughout the value chain.

Why is liner recycling important?

Because it pays to recycle. For the environment and for your business.

Release liner recycling:

  • Is environmentally friendly: it contributes to the reduction of the ‘footprint’ of your label company, FMCG brand or private label in the face of growing concerns about the future of our planet and its inhabitants.
  • Has economic advantages: it offers the potential for the reduction of costs associated with the management of secondary release liner materials, compared to alternative disposal methods.
  • Gives you a ‘license to operate’: it provides a potential answer to present and/or prospective legal or market requirements in the context of government or corporate environmental sustainability programmes.

Take a look at the continuously developing solutions around, the success stories available, learn from their experiences and explore what the FINAT Recycling Portal can mean for your company!

Factsheets and presentation

You can spread the word on release liner recycling within your company or to your customers using our promotional package and factsheets. It contains general information on the process, the possible benefits and the contacts of the recycling options.

Recycling solutions

Paper recycling basics

Siliconised paper based liners consist of high-quality wood fibres, which are very suitable for recycling. Upon collection, (siliconised) liner is repulped in water containing chemicals to release the silicones from the fibers. This process will be followed by a flotation process normally used for deinking/cleaning fibers of repulped printed papers. The same process is used to remove the released small silicone particles. The pulp can then be used to produce new products, such as fine and specialty papers (e.g. release liner, label face, postal, copy papers). For more information, please see the factsheet.

Film recycling basics

Siliconized films are predominantly made out of polyester (PET) or polypropylene (PP) polymers and are generated particularly in the beverage and personal care product industries (PET), and in food packing and logistics (PP).

Spent PET and PP liners are reground and granulated into plastic raw materials. Source separation from paper must occur. These raw materials can then be used for a wide range of applications, such as new silicone film, outdoor jacket insulation, and a variety of miscellaneous industrial applications.

Recycling challenges

In the past, release liner recycling faced three main challenges:

  • Collection logistics
  • Required separate sorting of release liner
  • Limited awareness of release liner recycling

Recycling solutions

Various companies now offer film and paper liner recycling to any company Europe-wide. Whilst separate sorting of paper/ film liner is still required, these companies or consortia of companies can offer site-specific solutions for collecting used liner from your company, at a price that beats landfilling costs. If you wish to get started with recycling, contact them now!

The following recycling solutions and concepts are currently available to the wider self-adhesive label industry and its customers. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and will be expanded over time as more solutions are brought to FINAT’s attention. Additionally, various manufacturers of self-adhesive materials have recycling schemes available to their own customers or to the entire industry.

See the download section on the right for the sheet with addresses.

Recycling initiatives

FINAT Recycling Awards

FINAT has held three successful recycling awards competitions to recognize efforts by converters and end-users alike, and raise awareness for the available liner recycling solutions.

Does your company have its paper and/or filmic release liners recycled? Then apply in our Recycling Awards Competition and be recognized for taking steps to lower your environmental impact and giving a second life to these valuable resources!

More information

FINAT Recycling Project 2016

Focus of FINAT Recycling Project's efforts in 2016 was a fact-finding study on release liner waste in 10 countries in Europe. The study provides insight into legislative situation in the release liner waste volumes, a detailed breakdown of the destination for the waste per country, available solutions and obstacles per country, as well an overview of possible logistics hubs. Finally, the study contains a number of recommendations which will serve as the basis for an updated project plan moving forward.

FINAT Recycling Project Group progress

Based on the outcome of the fact-finding study, the recycling group has identified a number of key areas of focus:

  1. Raising awareness among brand-owners through intensification of outreach efforts
  2. Raising awareness among converters by looking beyond Finat's membership
  3. Legislative adjustments to facilitate the transport of liner waste

With a detailed project plan ready, expect more news by the end of the year!

For more news on recycling initiatives, go to the news section of this website and filter on recycling/sustainability.

Case studies and success stories

The self-adhesive label industry is hard at work to ensure that paper and film release liners are recognized as valuable recyclable materials. The real-life success stories and case studies on this page show that release liner recycling is not only technically feasible; it can be good business.

Success stories and case studies:

January 2017: Henkel's Beauty Care business unit achieves zero label liner waste with UPM Raflatac's RafCycle®
September 2016: Collaboration across the supply chain (Smart Water by Coca-Cola European Partners)
February 2016: Company reports heightened sustainability performance through release liner recycling
February 2015: Winery reports advantages of liner recycling
June 2012: Paper liner recycling: Leading wine labeller embraces benefits