A label that simply ‘floats to the top’ when PET packaging is being recycled has won best in category for Industry Development & Creativity at Pride In Print.

Entered by Kiwi Labels under environmental print products – all areas subcategory, the Foodstuff’s label (under the Pam brand) is applied to punnets that are recyclable. It says ‘Rinse Me & Recycle – this punnet is made from recycled plastic (RPET).’

Judge Gary Gibbon said labels produced like this one will go a long way to solving a problem for recyclers who have to deal with them on every bit of recyclable plastic.

“When products like this get thrown into the recycling bin and then get chopped up to be re-melted, most of the labels on them can’t be separated out, so they’re contaminating the plastics they’re using.”

The label has a special adhesive that washes away, releasing it to float to the surface, allowing the labels to be cleared away.

He said these adhesives like this are just starting to come into the industry, but are likely to become more common in time as demand increases. There is at least one company that is currently recycling PET.

Kiwi Labels said it was continually looking to improve quality and reduce waste and had produced the label in a collaborative effort with its material supplier, customer and a leading recycling and plastic producer.

“We’ve developed a label solution that communicates to the end consumer that they can recycle this packaging.”

Unlike traditional labels, they are constructed with a unique wash-off formulation that separately cleanly from the packaging during the PET and RPET recycling process.

The polypropylene labels float while the denser PET flakes sink, allowing the valuable flakes to be recovered without contamination. This label is making a difference to the way we discard our packaging, therefore reducing landfill and increasing the recyclability of PET and RPET packaging.

There were 500,000 labels produced. They were printed with one colour flexo on the adhesive and three colour flexo on the top web.