Increasingly at Goldcrest we are being asked about what label materials are available that can be classed as environmentally friendly.
As a start point, it is worth pointing out that all Goldcrest paper label materials are sourced from suppliers using sustainable forest products to FSC standards.
However, in a drive to be as environmentally responsible as possible, Goldcrest can currently offer the following products:
Standard Paper Labels containing recycled paper pulp
This is possibly the easiest change for most to make, as there are no obvious changes from 100% wood free labels. The paper face material contains 30% recycled wood pulp. Label stock is available in both permanent and removable adhesive formats.
Full Recycled Paper Face Materials
There are a number of products on the market stating 99% recycled paper content. The paper used is recycled fibres from post consumer waste combined with acrylic based adhesive to food standards. There has been much effort put into improving fully recycled label materials, so anyone choosing to go down this route should expect to see no loss of quality or functionality in their labels.
The most readily available is Rock Paper. Rock Paper is a matt white face material made from 80% marble mining waste mixed with 20% recycled HDPE. It is suitable for a wide range of label applications, including foodstuffs. Rock Paper can be recycled easily by conventional means.
There is a growing range of biodegradable/compostable label materials Goldcrest can offer.
Biodegradable Wood Free Papers
These include forms of Vellum, semi gloss and direct thermal wood free papers to cover most needs. All are designed to be biodegradable and feature biodegradable adhesive. They are ideal to use with other forms of biodegradable packaging. Shelf life may vary so it is important to be clear on the shelf life of the product.
Cane Fibre Paper, an alternative to wood paper
Bagasse is the dry pulpy fibrous residue that remains after sugarcane or sorghum stalks are crushed to extract their juice. It can be used, amongst other things, to make paper pulp as an alternative to wood based products. Often the cane is combined with hemp and linen.
This makes Cane Fibre especially suited to highly decorative label applications, such as wine labels.
The cane fibre paper we would recommend complies with European food regulation: 1935/2004/EC
The adhesive is DIN EN 13432 biodegradability and compostable compliant.
Biobased PE is a film made from fermenting sugar from sugar cane. It comprises 83% Bio Base with 17% other materials. This makes it a very stable product as a full plastic alternative, with up to a 2 year shelf life. As with all alternative materials, adhesive choice is limited and would need testing.
PLA is a clear Poly Lactic Acid (i.e. starch based) face film made entirely from renewable sources.
It is most suitable when full biodegradability is required, making it ideal for food product labelling.
A word of caution, the shelf life is short.
Wood Sourced Clear and White Face Film
Wood sourced films are both biodegradable and compostable. Again, they are ideal for food products and again, shelf life is limited as are the adhesive choices.
A very good question and it is difficult to give a definitive answer. What counts as recyclable varies from place to place, country to country and the techniques available to be used. There are guidelines on which Goldcrest would be happy to advise on a case by case basis. If in doubt talk to us and we will do our best to be of assistance.
Currently all our standard inks are either Food Grade or biodegradable and chosen for full compatibility.
Depending on the product chosen shelf life can be as little as 6 months or up to 2 years or more. So before exploring what from the Environmental Range would suit you, we will need to fully understand your needs. When we have a recommendation for you, samples are available of our materials for thorough testing.
As new products are coming available all the time, it is worth giving Goldcrest a call to see what is available. If in doubt call Goldcrest.