I have blogged for years on the problems facing the labels industry in managing its waste streams, and to a large degree most of the problems are still here, but getting closer to a solution. This is a summary of the options as far as I know:
Siliconised glassine paper release liner (“backing paper”) – this cannt be recycled with normal paper as you need a sophisticated deinking plant to remove the silicone. Consequently the options are limited to landfill, waste to energy or recycling (which is often uneconomic at current rates).
Major recyclers of siliconised glassine release liners include:
- Chanelled resources – who ship the paper for reuse overseas
- Cycle for green – recycling by reprocessing at Lenzing Papier in Austria at a specialist plant
- UPM papers- recycling in France via Vertaris by reprocessing
To my knowledge there are no UK recyclers of glassine liner, and only 2 plants in Europe (France and Austria) that can reproceses it.
Siliconised PET (polyester) release liner – this cannt be recycled with normal PET. Consequently the options are limited to landfill, waste to energy or specialist recycling
Major recyclers of siliconised PET release liners include
Siliconised PP (polypropylene) release liner – this is a new and emerging release liner solution that can sometimes be recycled with other PP plastic waste provided that it is properly segregated. Consequently the options are limited to landfill, waste to energy or specialist recycling
Major recyclers of siliconised PP release liners include
This is the biggest unaddressed problem. Mercian Labels commissionsed a report from a leading European academic specialising in waste management in 2008, which recommended that the only viable options were landfill (undesirable but cost effective), or waste to energy, which is the position we are trying to move to. This is because its a mix of paper, plastic, adhesive, ink and silicone that cannt be separated into different waste streams. I have blogged on this subject before here and here , and the position remains largely unchanged. From our perspective, we are waiting for a waste to energy plant to be built near one of our operations in Cannock as our long term solution.
If you generate batches of more than 3 tonnes of liner then you can get it recycled through one of the routes described above. If you are a smaller user, and most people will be, then I am afraid that to our knowledge there are no other recycling options available at the moment in the UK.