Flint Group has made its Evolution products available for narrow web printers worldwide. The latest innovation includes Food Contact Material (FCM) compliant technologies that enhance shrink sleeves and label recyclability.
The company calls them Evolution products because it has designed them increase the yield of material reclaimed from the recycling process by enabling label material to be recycled at the same time as a PET bottle without risk of contamination. Flint Group says that, using Evolution products, previously unrecyclable products can be reprocessed, potentially boosting reclaimed material yield by up to 10 per cent.
Evolution deinking primer is applied to the substrate before the ink and provides strong ink adhesion throughout the life of the label. The primer then enables the ink to be released (de-inked) into the recycling caustic wash and the substrate is broken down into flakes. This ensures that more than 99 per cent of the material can be recycled into something new, according to Flint Group.
In contrast, Evolution Varnish ensures that inks remain on the label during the caustic wash used in the recycling process. The varnish application avoids contamination of the washing solution while not impacting the floatability of the label, and therefore, the resulting quality of the reclaimed material is significantly improved. The protected ink can then be skimmed off with the floating label and directed to an alternative waste stream.
The Association of Plastic Recyclers has recognised the Evolution product range for compliance with critical guidance for PET packaging. It recently won the Environmental Sustainability category at the 2022 Global Label Awards at Labelexpo Americas.
The European versions of these products are entirely FCM compliant, and the Deinking Primer has been shortlisted in the pre-commercialised category at the Packaging Europe Sustainability Awards 2023.
Pierre Dogliani, research and development innovation manager Narrow Web at Flint Group, says, “Labelexpo Europe brought together printers and converters worldwide where they discussed key trends throughout the narrow web industry. A significant observation was the increasing importance of recycling and circularity in packaging.
“Flint Group’s Evolution range provides a way for businesses to actively contribute to a more sustainable future by supporting circular packaging in the label and flexible packaging industry. Furthermore, the European versions of Evolution products are designed for use with food packaging without compromising label quality as a true ‘plug and play’ solution. No changes are required to existing ink systems or curing processes, providing a seamless transition for new customers.
“With circularity continuing to dominate conversations around labels and packaging, Evolution Deinking Primer and Varnish are a technical breakthrough for the industry and will be key to printers and converters making better use of existing plastic resources.”