New Label is 100% PCR Polypropylene

The first polypropylene (PP) label film made from 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic uses certified “circular” PP material, giving brands an option for meeting more of their sustainable packaging goals.

Now available globally from UPM Raflatac, the PP PCR Clear and White label films are made with SABIC’s TRUCIRCLE recycled-content polymers, produced “on a mass-balance basis,” according to the manufacturer — and are certified and traceable from feedstock to the final product by ISCC PLUS, a widely recognized sustainability certification scheme that verifies the mass-balance accounting follows predefined and transparent rules.

Chain of custody is maintained throughout the supply chain. Timo Kekki, vice president, films business, for UPM Raflatac, explains, “ISCC PLUS is a leading global sustainability certification scheme for fully traceable supply chains and UPM Raflatac, SABIC, as well the PP film manufacture and the whole value chain before UPM Raflatac, works according to this chain of custody to deliver this new innovation to the market.”

Launched at the K 2019 show in October 2019, TRUCIRCLE products from SABIC are certified circular polymers from the chemical recycling of mixed plastic waste, using the mass-balance approach to “deliver virgin-like resin feedstock,” according to the company. Chemical recycling takes mixed-waste plastics and turns them back into their original molecules, which are then made into polypropylene that can replace virgin PP while adhering to strict food-safety regulations.

So why is UPM Raflatac focusing on recycled-content polypropylene labels when most containers are polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or high-density polyethylene (HDPE)? “We already have PET PCR label in our range,” Kekki says. “But more importantly, PP label is dominantly used in fast-moving consumer goods plastic packages. Circular use of raw materials is important, but equally important is the raw material input that is fed to the system and, to achieve the biggest impact, it makes sense to introduce recycled PP label to the market. PP label is widely recommended and considered compatible for recycling with main plastic packaging materials: PET, PP, and PE.”


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it's so great to see retailers and companies alike reducing their carbon footprints by recycling plastics that would otherwise end up in a landfill for decades. Recycled plastic is actually such a versatile material because not only can it be remade into food packaging, it can also be made into tote bags and more! I know of a great company that uses rPET in the production of their custom shopping bags - check them out!
It's so great to see companies creating labels and packaging out of recycled materials, especially plastics which would otherwise end up in landfills for decades. So many materials like rPET can be created to manufacture everything from clothing to tote bags. I know of a great company that uses rPET in the production of many of their customizable tote bags - check them out!
The title of this article is misleading; "New Label is 100% PCR Polypropylene". Since the process is mass balance there is only a tiny percentage of material in the actual label that is derived from the PCR input. Chemical recycling along with the use of mass balance provides another option in our toolkit for utilizing PCR material, but we need to be careful in our communication regarding mass balance.
Thanks for the explanation, Derrick. There is a lot of talk going on these days about how to track post-consumer packaging materials when using chemical recycling. And, yes, we have to be careful about the accuracy of any environmental message.