Shrink sleeve recycling

​​Brand owners are demanding more sustainability and recyclability in their packaging solutions. While shrink sleeve films provide unique design and decoration possibilities, they can cause challenges with existing recycling processes.

UPM Raflatac’s polyolefin-based RafShrink films combine the design freedom of shrink sleeve films with high recyclability.

During the recycling process, the separation of the sleeve film from the PET bottle material is based on a simple principle: RafShrink MDO film has a lower density than water, so it floats. PET is denser than water and therefore sinks.

RafShrink’s removability, combined with the product’s outstanding detection rate of 92% in NIR sorting, means you get the clean, clear recycled PET flakes needed for sustainable packaging.

RafShrink MDO film has also met two key industry standards: the Critical Guidance issued by the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) and the shrink sleeve material guidelines of the European PET Bottle Platform (EPBP).

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Why choose PO for your sleeve labels?

​Current situation in shrink sleeve recycling: mainly PVC or PETG  

  • Bottles shredded and washed in hot caustic soda solution
  • PVC and PETG sleeves have a density greater than 1.0
PET flakes from the bottles are contaminated with label and ink residues 


All pieces sink

​Future situation in shrink sleeve recycling: polyolefin sleeves

  • Bottles shredded and washed in hot caustic soda solution
  • PO sleeves have a density less than 1.0
High-value clean PET flakes can be recovered from the bottles
Printed PO sleeve flakes float
PET bottle flakes sink