CELAB promotes sustainability globally



In order to promote sustainability in the label and packaging printing industry, more than 50 member companies have joined a new consortium, CELAB. Membership is open to all companies in the sticker label supply chain that are committed to CELAB’s goals and are willing to support its work.

L&NW recently sat down with Kyle Rhodes, President of CELAB North America and Marketing Director, Nonstick Coatings and PSA of Elkem Silicones Americas, to learn more about the organization.

Kyle Rhodes: In 2020, we launched CELAB (Circular Economy for Labels) as an industry consortium to create a platform for recycling solutions within the labeling and self-adhesive industry. The goal of the more than 50 companies that have started and joined CELAB is to improve and promote the recycling of both the non-stick coating and the matrix. The release liner typically uses excellent quality virgin fiber, which is highly desirable to return to the paper recycle streams. This group of companies includes large label manufacturers, converters, paper manufacturers, recyclers, adhesive suppliers, liner manufacturers and silicone manufacturers. So there is a wealth of knowledge and experience to build on.

CELAB members came together to promote current and new recycling options in the market by raising awareness, connecting waste generators to existing recycling streams and exploring technical solutions to overcome barriers.

KR: One of the biggest hurdles is connecting the waste generators, whether at the converter level, the label applicator level or at the brand owner level, with the existing recycling streams of the stationery equipped and comfortable to receive materials with silicone non-stick coatings. Recyclers and paper mills vary depending on the desired end product and will set criteria on what is and is not acceptable in terms of contaminants. Some of these recycling streams consider silicone, or silicone and adhesive, to be a contaminant, and could reject an entire shipment of paper if small amounts of protective film are present.

Other mills and recyclers see the value of these high quality fibers found in Super Calendared Craft, Glassine, CCK or any other type of paper commonly found in label and ribbon applications, and can adjust the process to allow them. to manage the withdrawal is necessary. CELAB North America and CELAB Europe are working to create easy-to-use websites that will allow companies embarking on the recycling path to connect them to recycling networks capable of operating with silicone liners.

Another obstacle that we see is the desire to adopt a recycling plan, but not knowing how and where to start. Our goal as a consortium is to encourage and promote recycling around the world, through education, networking and science. We develop tools, case studies, white papers, share experiences and apply our industry knowledge to overcome some of the hurdles businesses face today.

KR: CELABglobal.org is a great place to start. It offers resources, information and information to become a member. We are also closely linked to TLMI, which is an organization dedicated to supporting the labeling industry, and whose members focus on sustainability and recycling. CELAB companies are engaged in collaborative projects to explore and extend the technology around these topics, which will help their own businesses, their customers and ultimately be better stewards of our environment.

KR: Our work streams are divided into different specialties, led by dedicated people who volunteer their time to focus on technical issues, establish the recycling network and communicate with industry. It is a unique experience to have competitors, customers and suppliers all sitting at the same table, engaging and giving of their time, because it is the right thing for the industry to do.

If a topic is identified for further exploration, the volunteer companies will work together to answer a question and bring it back to the community. We also ask guest speakers to present on various topics that help to further increase the knowledge of member companies. Using the collective minds of all member companies around the world allows us to delve into existing and new technologies that may be applicable.

KR: As a group, we recognize a much higher level of interest in recycling, sustainability and environmental management around the world. We are seeing interest from brand owners and large retail chains. We are seeing interest down to the consumer level as people are more aware of the decisions they make and the impact on the environment.

Legislation around the world is evolving to address cradle-to-grave management. Label companies have spread all over the world, interested in starting chapters in various locations in Asia and South America. This level of interest reaches back up to chemical manufacturers and paper mills around the world, and every company approaches sustainability in its own way. CELAB allows us to come together as a collective industry and start addressing these issues where we can.

CELAB is a young organization, but it is sponsored by experienced companies dedicated to promoting the recycling of non-stick coatings and matrix. It’s exciting to see passionate people within the industry working together to improve sustainability and reduce the impact on our environment. Sometimes the right message needs to be heard at the right time, with the right people ready to listen. With the worldview increasingly focusing on sustainability, now is the time to act and make a difference.



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