When two customers of Pickering, Ontario, Canada-based Labelcraft Products Ltd were looking for a sustainable solution for their labels, the company came up with an idea—the Recyclable Enviroliner.
Brian Tomlinson, president/owner at Labelcraft Products, explains that a traditional label release liner is made of virgin paper treated with a heavy coating of silicone that cannot be processed at most recycling facilities, leading to it typically ending up in a landfill.
“Customers today are looking to be more ecofriendly and are always looking for ways to reduce their waste,” he says. “Our Enviroliner gives them the best of both worlds—great quality product and a zero waste label. Both employees and customers are very interested in the success of the product as we are now able to divert label liner waste from our landfills, one customer at a time.”
For the achievement, Labelcraft Products has won the Innovations in Sustainability category in the 2020 FTA Sustainability Excellence Awards. The Recyclable Enviroliner is 100 percent recyclable and made with 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper.
Challenges & Development
With its Recyclable Enviroliner, Labelcraft Products employs a propriety process that utilizes uncoated, 100 percent post-consumer waste paper as a release liner that can be recycled at a standard recycling facility. The Recyclable Enviroliner requires no new printers or applicators, only a sensor mark on the back of the stock. It can be used with paper or film facestock including gloss, thermal transfer, direct thermal and laser sheets. Since recycled paper is used for the liner, the environmental impact is reduced.
The company found the biggest challenge in developing the Recyclable Enviroliner was doing something no one had considered before—using uncoated recycled paper, rather than virgin paper, as the release liner for labels. Labelcraft spent between two and three years coming up with the product through extensive R&D. It took about five years to fully launch a marketable product, with a full spectrum of adhesives and facestocks usable for virtually all types of labels.
“We knew we had a great idea and that it was doable. At the end of the day, this product is something that was needed in our industry—to eliminate the waste going to our landfills each year,” Tomlinson notes. “This was the main driving factor that motivated the team at Labelcraft to develop a workable product.”
He adds that the development of the Recyclable Enviroliner could not have been completed without the contributions of many employees, whom Labelcraft always encourages to provide feedback.
“Our press operators are experts on running presses and coming up with new and unique solutions,” Tomlinson continues. “Without their input, we would not have gotten to where we are today with a product that is being used by many. Feedback on how the stock runs in the presses allowed us to make improvements to our processes and formulations.”
A Sustainable Solution
The patented Recyclable Enviroliner is currently being manufactured at the company’s Ontario facility. In late 2020, the company will also be producing the Recyclable Enviroliner for use in its DeSoto, TX facility.
“Sustainability is very important for many reasons. It’s not just a buzz word that we use at Labelcraft,” says Tomlinson. “If we don’t do something about our resources now, we won’t have much left in the years to come. We are a small-to-mid-size company that is making a change and offering a sustainable solution to the label industry. We believe looking after our resources and reducing, reusing and recycling is the right thing today.”
Sustainability Excellence Award judges were impressed by the unique solution. “This could have a big impact on the label industry and their customers,” comments Sustainability Excellence Awards judge Jean Engelke.
“Labelcraft Products’ Recyclable Enviroliner is a truly innovative effort for the industry in regard to recyclability,” adds Sustainability Excellence Awards judge Jason Alcaraz of Flint Group. “Their innovation effort in producing a product that is suitable, not only for their business model but others as well, is truly innovative. Even for customers who don’t necessarily compete in their market, but other business segments, their efforts are readily available to be utilized.”