Flint Group Narrow Web has introduced two UV-flexo coating products to improve the recyclability of shrink sleeves and pressure sensitive labels. These coatings are currently available in North America and will soon be available in Europe and other regions.
Using different chemistries, the Evolution Deinking Primer, for shrink sleeves, and the Evolution Caustic Resistant Overprint Varnish (OPV), for self-adhesive labels, are designed to increase the yield of material in the recycling process.
Both coatings have been recognised by the Association of Plastic Recyclers to comply with the critical guidance for PET packaging.
The Evolution Deinking Primer is a coating used on shrink sleeve materials that makes the ink release in the caustic bath of the recycling process. When used with crystallisable polyester shrink sleeve material (CPET), the primer keeps the ink anchored to the substrate through the usable life of the sleeve, but releases it in the caustic bath.
The ink is removed from the sleeve material without contaminating the valuable bottle flake. The materials are then rinsed and pelletised into recycled polyester (rPET) for reuse.
Evolution Deinking Primer is applied by the conventional UV-flexo process and works with Flint Group’s EkoCure XS flexo inks that are specially designed for shrink sleeves.
The second product, the Evolution Caustic Resistant OPV, is a UV-flexo overprint varnish to facilitate recycling PET bottles utilising pressure-sensitive labels. The varnish minimises contamination of the wash water and bottle flake in the caustic bath by keeping the ink secured to the label substrate.
When immersed in the float-sink bath, the label is released from the bottle and floats to the surface where it is separated from the bottle recycling stream.
Neither the Deinking Primer nor the Caustic Resistant OPV has any impact on ink colour, image quality or code readability. This means that converters can have a smooth transition to the new coatings.
Flint Group Narrow Web North America marketing manager John Pogatschnik said, “The Deinking Primer and Caustic Resistant OPV are simple to use and offer optimal performance at all stages of the label or sleeve lifecycle, while meeting the stringent requirements of the APR critical guidance. Switching to these new products is disruption-free, has no adverse effect on functionality, and works with our standard inks.
“Both products are ‘plug and play’ solutions that enable better recycling without impacting the quality or application performance. A converter doesn’t need to qualify a new ink series and rematch several colours: simply splice into a recognised substrate, turn on the primer or OPV, and more sustainable labels or sleeves are rolling up on the winder.”