These days it’s rare to have a conversation about packaging and labels without discussing the “S” word…sustainable. We have them every day and they usually go like this, “We want a waterproof label with metallic and holographic effects that is 100% recyclable. Just one last thing, my budget is limited.”
In theory that sounds wonderful, but for now, and until the industry catches up with society’s push toward using 100% environmentally friendly materials, this customer may be looking for a unicorn.
There’s More to the Story
Since we’ve been focused on sustainability for more than a decade, we think it’s crucial to educate anyone involved in packaging on what can be achieved today. So can you get a waterproof label with metallic finishes that is 100% recyclable? Perhaps, but probably not for the budget that you had in mind. Even if money is no object, you still may not be able to claim 100% sustainability. In fact, if you say no to even one of these questions, then you are not completely sustainable:
- Is your packaging as light or as small as it needs to be?
- Are the inks you are printing with produced from limited volatile organic compounds?
- Are you using an adhesive that cleanly separates during the recycling process?
- Are you working with a certified Sustainable Green Printing Partnership printer?
Like Goldilocks, You’ve Got Some Decisions to Make
There are sustainable options available now that will get you closer to your vision. It’s more about choosing what works best for your brand. Sure you can use recycled paper stock, but it has some limitations, including cost, design and shelf life. In fact, we’ve tested most of them and have yet to find a material to that fits perfectly like Cinderella’s glass slipper.
We are probably a few years away from packaging that offers the right combination of being fully sustainable, affordable, protective, and can showcase high-end finishes. But don’t give up your packaging dreams just yet.
- Cut down on CO2 emissions by reducing the size of your packaging
- Limit VOCs (volatile organic compounds) by making sure that you only use water-based inks
- Work with a certified Sustainable Green Printing Partnership printer like Overnight Labels. As a member, we must follow sustainability best practices, including and beyond regulatory compliance to reduce our environmental impact. It also means that we are at the forefront of what is available today. Including:
- Avery Dennison CleanFlake™ technology: 560 million PET bottles are wasted every year in the recycling process, largely due to incompatible label materials. CleanFlake™ is a water-based, recyclable adhesive that cleanly separates during the PET Plastic recycling process resulting in pure PET flakes, the conservation of virgin PET resources, and less landfill waste.
- Flexible packaging uses fewer resources, generates fewer emissions and creates less waste. Shipping the products also requires less fuel than heavy glass bottles or metal cans, which reduces the carbon footprint.
- Eco-friendly stocks like lost-consumer waste substrates, tree-free stock and kona paper
Just like you, we can’t wait until there are endless green packaging options that work for every budget and design. Until then, get in touch so we can work together on finding the right combination for your brand.
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