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UPM Raflatac will present the results of a full-body shrink sleeve label recycling study, featuring the company's new Rafshrink PO MDO 40 HS product, at the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) Technical Forum in New Orleans, Louisiana. The study, conducted with Plastic Forming Enterprises, will demonstrate that Rafshrink, a polyolefin-based, roll-fed shrink film label provides good recyclability gains over PETG labels, currently the industry-standard film label for shrink sleeve applications, when used with clear PET bottles.

With their ability to provide a 360-degree product presentation, shrink sleeve films are growing at 5.5% CAGR and expected to reach 12,750 million square metres in sales in 2018, according to AWA Alexander Watson Associates. However, global brand owners are actively seeking ways to increase the recyclability of shrink sleeved PET containers to reduce their environmental footprint.

The PO MDO 40 HS provides branding on complex container shapes due to high MDO shrinkage of 61% at 95°C and haze at 3% with clarity and gloss. The shrink film also can be applied at high speeds, labelling more than 50,000 containers per hour. During the recycling process, the polyolefin material ensures clean separation from clear PET bottles by floating to the top of the caustic washing solution, unlike PVC and PETG labels, which sink with PET bottle material. The labels meets the Critical Guidance by Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) and by European Plastic Bottle Platform (EPBP).

The research study tested Rafshrink PO against PETG labels on clear and colored PET bottles and other packaging materials. The labels provided average detection rates of 92% versus 40% for PETG sleeve labels when tested at six leading near infrared (NIR) equipment manufacturers. The study shows that clear PET bottles can be detected by NIR sorting equipment even when covered with a full-body PO-based shrink sleeve.

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