CELAB to showcase liner recycling initiatives at Labelexpo Europe 2022

Matrix and liner recycling challenges to be addressed by global CELAB consortium at world’s largest dedicated label and package print exhibition held in April 2022.

The Circular Economy for Labels (CELAB) consortium and Tarsus Group, organiser of the Labelexpo Global Series, have announced a collaboration to showcase new matrix and release liner collection and recycling initiatives at Labelexpo Europe 2022. Labelexpo Europe takes place at the Brussels Expo between 26-29 April next year.

The global CELAB consortium is dedicated to increasing liner and matrix recycling rates to bring the self-adhesive labelling industry into line with circular economy programs promoted by governments and regulators across the world. In practice this means the recycled material is capable of being reused in the manufacture of new release liners or items of a similarly high value.

CELAB is organised into regional branches, with the European division hosted by FINAT. Francesc Egea, director at IPE Labels and Sleeves and FINAT Vice President, represents FINAT on the CELAB-Europe steering group. Underneath the European steering group, there are workstreams focusing on data mining, liner and matrix recycling solutions, collection logistics, regulatory affairs and communications.

CELAB-Europe’s membership as at October 2021 includes 32 companies and organisations: Ahlstrom-Munksjö, All4Labels, Avery Dennison, BASF SE, CCL Label, Delfort, Dow, Elkem,  Evonik, Fedrigoni Self-Adhesives, Felix Schoeller Group, Gipea, FINAT, Flexcon, Henkel, Herma, Intercoat, Itasa, Lecta, Lintec, Loparex, Mitsubishi, Polyester Film, Momentive, Mondi, Siliconature, Synthomer,  Taghleef Industries, Toray Films Europe, UPM Raflatac, UPM Specialty Papers, VskE and Wacker Chemie.

CELAB estimates there are 1.6 million tons of label liners sold worldwide, of which 25% in Europe, with a recycling rate into other material of approximately 20 percent. CELAB-Europe’s goal is for over 75 percent of the continent’s used release liner and matrix material to follow a circular route by 2025.

Current CELAB initiatives include a global market research study into material volumes, recycling rates and capabilities conducted by AWA, and a technical review of release liner recycling technologies. Already, two white papers have been released on the recyclability of paper and PET release liners and further initiatives are in progress or planned, such as a study into the valorisation of matrix waste and a collaboration with Petcore to establish a PET liner recycler’s network across Europe.

The main challenge to be examined at Labelexpo Europe 2022 is how to make recycling economically viable in the face of both technical complexity and high transportation costs arising from the fragmented distribution of liner and matrix materials.

The CELAB/Tarsus initiative at Labelexpo Europe 2022 reflects a growing emphasis at the show on sustainable solutions.