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Blog | 04/14/2019 21:00:00

Reduce, Recycle & Renew: UPM Raflatac Reducing the Use of Plastic Raw Materials

Jan Hasselblatt

Director, Global Business Development, Home and Personal Care, UPM Raflatac

​In this article, I will discuss the aspect of reducing as part of the three Rs: Reduce, Recycle and Renew. I will look into the benefits of reducing fossil feedstock from the circular economy’s point of view. My text will also examine how reductions to the use of raw materials in labeling translate into positive environmental impacts. Lastly, I’ll introduce you to some of UPM Raflatac’s solutions to labeling a smarter future beyond fossils.

We Are Committed to the Circular Economy

We live in a world where both our economy and society still heavily rely on oil and fossil-based raw materials in the majority of energy production and industrial processes. The detrimental effects of warming the planet by operating this way are very well known to everybody. Slowly but surely a fortunate change for the better, more sustainable living has started to emerge.

We now have a good library of more sustainable and bio-based raw materials at hand, and by committing to the circular economy, we can create a positive impact on the plastics waste issue. What is more, along with 350+ other companies globally, UPM Raflatac has made a commitment to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to increase its sustainability collectively. With the help of these published commitments we promise to take action to make a real dent in the plastics waste issue and help brand owners reach their 2025 targets.

In the current environmental climate, we forecast that companies who are able to reduce their use of virgin fossil raw materials, make a shift beyond fossils and offer truly sustainable solutions, are the successful companies of the future. Personally, I consider this very important and am proud to be part of UPM Raflatac’s activities towards a much more sustainable world of labels. 

Environmental Benefits of Reducing

Lighter products, all in all, have a wide range of environmental benefits. As a positive by-product, they also enhance stock efficiency and increase the number of labels per roll, which reduces the amount of start-up waste and downtime.

Lighter products also demand less fuel and packaging in logistics and transportation, which, again, creates a lesser impact on the environment. These may even create welcomed cuts in transportation and packaging costs.

Based on Label Life, our lifecycle assessment tool for our products, we know that 10-20% reductions to the use of raw materials translates into a similar percentage reduction in the environmental impact. The Label Life tool gives credible information on three fundamental environmental impacts: greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, and water consumption. It also enables users to compare Raflatac products with each other and choose a relevant end-of-life scenario for liner.

UPM Raflatac’s Smart Labeling Solutions that Support Reducing

UPM Raflatac Lite Films Range: By combining a lighter face material, a lower coat-weight adhesive and a lighter liner we truly reduce our environmental impact. This range optimizes the use of raw materials and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water consumption and waste.

UPM Raflatac Vanish PCR: These ultrathin no-label look labels that the Vanish range offers feature 90 % recycled content face and liners. These thin yet strong labels allow home and personal care brand owners to increase their sustainability without sacrificing performance.

UPM Raflatac RAFNXT+: ​ All the products in RAFNXT+ range are based on our unique Forest Positive lifecycle approach – the future formula for sustainable labeling. This approach delivers positive benefits in terms of carbon absorption, biodiversity, resource optimization, and sustainable forest management. RAFNXT+ is a next-generation range of sustainable labeling solutions that deliver incredible reductions in energy, water, and waste throughout their lifecycle compared to standard paper labels. 

Future of Sustainability Is in Innovation Beyond Fossils 

We at UPM Raflatac believe that commitment to action is crucial and bold innovations in chemical engineering will be pivotal. As stated by my colleague Robert Taylor, Director of Sustainability here at UPM Raflatac; “with innovation at the center of our business, we are ready to face the next challenge and create truly circular labeling solutions that will bypass the conventional plastics challenges we face today”.

 

 

Read more:

UPM RAFLATAC'S COMMITMENTS FOR THE ELLEN MACARTHUR FOUNDATION’S NEWPLASTICS ECONOMY
Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Label Life

 

Author

Jan Hasselblatt

Jan Hasselblatt

Director, Global Business Development, Home and Personal Care, UPM Raflatac | “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take"
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