Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) has been used in the beverage industry for many years, largely replacing other materials as the most common type of plastic in packaging materials worldwide.
C-PET (crystallisable PET) shrink film can be used for shrink sleeve labelling. CPET shrink sleeve label film is made from sustainable, 100% recyclable PET bottles. CPET shrink sleeve label film has a high lateral shrinkage rate and is recommended for use in steam ovens.
In view of the growing demand for the reuse of packaging materials, PET bottles are increasingly made from post-consumer recycled materials, and a number of bottles made from 100 per cent recycled PET materials are already on the market. The development of "ultra-clean technologies" capable of effectively removing molecular contaminants has been a major boost in this regard. This is a prerequisite for the reuse of recycled materials in food applications such as PET bottle recycling.
The global product decoration and branding market is expected to witness significant growth due to the ability of shrink sleeves to fully decorate bottles, cups, trays and various other packaging types from top to bottom in 360°.
As a result, shrink sleeves help reduce the need for large quantities of coloured bottles. This helps to improve the quality of recycled bottle materials and supports the wider use of recycled materials.
Shrink sleeve offers an effective labelling technology that combines high quality graphics with complex container geometries to maximise the shelf appeal of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) products.
In terms of volume, PETC is currently the most used shrink sleeve label film type in Europe and North America, largely replacing PVC and polystyrene based shrink sleeves.
Washable shrink sleeve films printed with specially developed washable ink and primer solutions are based on crystallisable PET (cPET). This approach represents a significant upgrade to the existing PET bottle recycling process, as cPET shrink sleeves can be fully recycled along with the bottle flakes, contributing to higher yields and quality of rPET.
Advanced external and internal analytical tests have confirmed that the deinking process does not have any impact on the quality of the recovered PET recyclate and is safe for use in PET bottle recycling processes requiring food-grade rPET quality.
It has long been the case that when recycling PET containers labelled with full-body shrink sleeves, the shrink sleeve material must be completely removed from the PET bottle recycling stream to avoid subsequent processing of the recycled PET due to material incompatibility.
While brand owners are striving to achieve 100% recyclability of their packaging materials, the current PETG shrink sleeve is considered an interfering factor in PET bottle recycling and must be removed from the PET bottle recycling stream. Given the trend towards thinner-walled PET bottles, this situation is made even more problematic because the quantitative mechanical separation of shrink sleeves also leads to increased loss of PET bottle recycling material during the separation process.
In order to avoid material separation and thus increase the yield and quality of rPET, crystallisable PET (cPET) was developed as a technical alternative to PETG. Unlike PETG, crystallisable PET is compatible with the PET bottle recycling stream and does not adversely affect the quality of rPET, making it possible to recycle both bottle PET and cPET shrink tubing.
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