How CleanFlake™ Labels Help Simplify Plastics Recycling

First Published: March 8, 2024

When recycling plastic bottles made from PET or HDPE, labels are a problem.

Most labels are made from plastics different from the bottles they are attached to, and their adhesives and inks contaminate the recycling process. When the bottles are shredded into flakes for washing and melting, the labels and adhesives stick to them, reducing their quality and value.

As a result, many recyclers have to reject or discard bottles with problematic labels, which reduces the amount of material available for recycling and increases waste.

This is such an issue that brands are investigating using labelless, or label-free, bottles for beverage packaging.

Label material specialist Avery Dennison has a product that can help with this process – allowing brands to continue using decorative and informative labels on their products while making recycling easier at the end of the package lifecycle.

CleanFlake™ is a pressure-sensitive label material engineered to enhance PET and HDPE packaging recycling. It is 100% removed during the PET recycling process and stays with the plastic flakes in the case of HDPE.

See the two processes in the Avery Dennison graphic below (click the image to expand):

An excellent example of this label material in action is a package developed for Chlorophyll Water.

This uses a bottle made from 100% recycled rPET food grade material, along with a CleanFlake™ label, and the company claims this is the first-ever bottled water in the US to pass the Clean Label Project certification.

Further Reading

More on the Chlorophyll Water packaging from Packaging Insights

Avery Dennison CleanFlake™ datasheet

Clean Label Project certification

You May Also Like…