A new PE label, manufactured exclusively from recycled polyethylene, is thought to be the first of its kind worldwide. It was jointly developed in Germany by the printer schäfer-etiketten and the self-adhesive materials specialist HERMA, with the aid of the PE film experts of POLIFILM.

Half of the raw material for the label stock originates from industrial waste, and the other half from the single-use PE commonly discarded by households, typically in the form of plastic bottles and packaging remains.

The novel PE label material produced from recycled waste is white, but on closer inspection so-called gels are visible as well. “These are tiny specks that arise during the recycling process and cannot be entirely avoided,” explains Volker Hurth of schäfer-etiketten. “On the other hand, they give the label material an authentic character and signal to end-users that it has genuinely been produced from recycled waste. The new label is therefore ideal for brands and manufacturers who, as a general rule, want their packaging materials to reflect a commitment to sustainability.”

For HERMA, the new self-adhesive material further underscores its approach to optimizing the environmental footprint of packaging. “It’s important that we continue to challenge the throw-away mentality and focus more on actively initiating or fostering material cycles,” says Ulli Nägele, HERMA’s head of development.