Removal of labels on plastic packaging

Background

Plastic is showing some real advantages in application, which we enjoy every day. However, we are constantly facing the consequences of improperly handled plastic waste, which is polluting our environment across the globe. It is, therefore, necessary to act now to dramatically reduce plastic waste and to start seeing it as a raw material source for new products. Recycling has challenges in terms of creating high quality recyclate. One challenge is to remove labels from the bottles, to be able to recycle bottles independently from the labels.

We are looking for technologies supporting very good adhesion and easy removal and separation of labels. Technologies (products), which allow high quality plastic label adhesion on plastic packaging, to be removed in conventional classical mechanical recycling processes will be considered. Labels should be removed for HDPE, LDPE or PET plastic packaging. Labels should ideally be suitable for bottles between 100 – 1000 ml and independent of bottle shape (round, flat, flexible or stiff). For a start, a proof point on 2-3 bottle types would be sufficient.

Requirements

  • We are seeking a technology (adhesive), to attach the plastic label (HDPE, LDPE or PET) to plastic packaging. The adhesive should be environmentally friendly, be applicable to food and other applications. It should also allow easy removal of the label in conventional mechanical recycling processes.
  • An adhesive technology based on low carbon feedstock is preferable. The technology should work on HDPE, LDPE; PP and PET.
  • We are also looking for a technology to remove labels completely from packaging, to allow separate recycling of the packaging material itself and the label. Currently, labels which are not removed by the consumer before disposal can be separated into two categories. The first group of labels is very loosely attached to the packaging. These labels are not of high quality and can easily be washed off during the washing process. These labels are often made from paper. The second group of labels adheres tightly to the packaging and despite washing, the label cannot be separated from the packaging. The labels will end up as impurity in the post-consumer recyclate stream.
  • The proposed solution should allow for high quality plastic labels and its efficient removal during sorting. Alternatively, the labels can be removed during washing, which would require post-sorting of the waste flakes to separate the different polymer types.
  • The TRL of the technology (both adhesive and removal) should be at least 5, a proven process/product on a laboratory scale.
  • The technology should be applicable to label plastic packaging in commercially available processes and allow for clean removal.
  • The labels, which shall be removed, should consist of HDPE, LDPE or PET, in use for plastic packaging.
  • The focus is not on the printing of the labels.
  • Potential combination in product offering with Clariant products i.e. surface coating and performance additives would be beneficial.
  • The tech-partner should be familiar with the plastic recycling industry.
  • Ideally, the partner chemical recycling plant should be in South East Asia or Europe.
  • Joint development or licensing will be considered. Needs to be discussed, depending on the type of solution. Clariant will provide optimisation and technical support.

Desired Outcome

  • The target packaging cost may not significantly increase total cost of packaging.

  • The technology is intended to address packaging globally, products that require labelled packaging.

Development Timeframe

  • 1 – 2 years to prove pilot scale

 

 

Further Enquiries

  • For specific enquiries on the challenge statement, please contact here 
  • For any general enquiries, please contact here 
Challenge

Sustainability Open Innovation Challenge - Enterprise

Organisation

Clariant

Themes

Green Packaging

Proposal submissions are open from 24 Nov 2020 to 5 Mar 2021