Mercian Labels completes move to zero to landfill for label production waste



matrixwasteWe are delighted to have completed our move to send zero to landfill from our factory in Cannock, the culmination of many years of effort to find a solution for our label production waste streams that has vexed the label industry for years.  5 years ago back in 2008 we blogged about the problems of disposing of matrix waste that is an essential by product of die cutting labels.  The waste is a mix of non recyclable paper/PP plus adhesives and silicone.  Back then we were told to send it to China, a solution that we didn’t favour, and so after recycling what we could we have continued to landfill a proportion of our waste that could not be economically dealt with in any other way.

fuelSince early 2013 we have been working with our waste management supplier to slowly fed in more and more of our waste into a new process to manufacture fuel for the manufacture of cement just down the road at the CEMEX plant in Rugby.  That transition is now complete and now that our waste streams are reduced as much as possible,  100% of our waste in either reused (as packaging material), recycled (we segregate and dry recycle clean plastics, paper and metals) or recovered (and used as fuel for the manufacture of cement, with the waste ash used in the cement itself).  More on our CSR policies here.

Our label matrix and setup waste is now collected in a segregated transport infrastructure, move to the sortation and fragmentation plant (pictured above) for shredding and baling, then driven to the local cement manufacturing plant in Rugby.  The fuel is “confetti like” and has an high calorific value that makes it suitable for burning to make cement.  If this fuel was not being used, the plant would be burning coal, gas or similar hydrocarbon fuels, so its use as a ‘waste to energy’ fuel is more sustainable.


This is a small but significant step for us and one we are proud of.  Anything that reduces the volume of label industry waste going to landfill is good, and this is, in our circumstances, the most environmentally friendly option available to us. We hope that others in the label industry in the UK and overseas will follow our lead and take advantage of this recently available option.