Novel label adhesives enable easier cardboard recycling

BASF has developed new adhesives for labels that no longer interfere with paper and paperboard recycling. They are designed to combine good adhesive properties with easy removal from the recovered paper stream.

By developing new adhesives for labels Image source: BASF.

In addition to the automotive and food industries, logistics is another sector with a high demand for pressure-sensitive labels. For several years until today, transport labels have comprised the fastest growing share of the market. This trend has been reinforced by the pandemic in 2020 and 2021 with rapid growth in e-commerce and mail order sales, which currently accounts for almost 15% of the demand for labels in Europe.

The innovative adhesives manufactured by BASF are intended to solve a fundamental problem for paper and cardboard packaging recycling. While most of the adhesives used for paper labels interfere with the paper recycling process, the newly developed adhesives are easy to remove early in the process, making it possible to reuse and print recycled paper or paperboard packaging without any further issues.

“Key issue for the packaging industry”

With this solution, BASF also intends to underpin its commitment to a sustainable circular economy in line with the European Union’s Green Deal. As Thomas Schiele, Vice President Adhesives, Fiber Bonding and Paper Coating Chemicals at BASF, pointed out: “The constantly growing demand for packaging has made its recyclability a key issue for the packaging industry. Steps need to be taken, not only with respect to the packaging materials, but also the adhesives that are being used. Our innovative adhesive technologies open up completely new possibilities for a working circular economy, both in the packaging industry as well as in many other sectors.”

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