Story | 05/15/2020 11:22:02 | 5 min Read time

Kiwi labels: A truly sustainable frontrunner in the New Zealand market

Kiwi Labels, a New Zealand pioneer in digitally printed labels, has forged a national presence in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) market for over 44 years. The brand recently demonstrated its leadership with the launch of the new UPM Raflatac RW85C PET wash-off solution at the 2020 Australasian Packaging Innovation & Design Awards (PIDA). Forming part of the UPM Raflatac SmartCircle sustainable product offering, this sustainable label solution was nominated in two categories, ultimately taking home bronze in the 2020 Sustainable Packaging Design Special Award-Retail Pack category. The award came as a high mark of recognition for printing excellence and leadership in sustainable packaging.


1.      Increased pressure to reduce plastic waste and growing confusion about recyclability in the New Zealand market is pushing brand owners to seek truly sustainable products from suppliers like Kiwi Labels.

2.      PET wash-off solutions enable labels to separate easily during industrial washing, maximizing the recyclability of containers and giving them a second life.

3.      UPM Raflatac’s sustainable label solution supports the circular economy, helping Kiwi Labels become the frontrunner in the industry.

Amid growing concern about packaging waste, especially plastic packages, more and more New Zealand brand owners are prioritizing sustainability. Due to limited recycling infrastructure and the overwhelming presence of greenwashing, the New Zealand market faced a clear need to find better, reliable solutions for reducing plastic waste. Rising environmental pressure pushed brand owners to turn to their suppliers for help in seeking a truly sustainable solution to maximize the recyclability of consumer packages. Kiwi Labels is eager to tell the market how it is helping to reduce plastic waste.

“Because of the negative environmental impact from plastic waste and confusing information in the New Zealand market, we really wanted to do something with our labels. But the problem is that the standard label solution hinders the recycling process because it sticks on the recyclate, unlike the wash-off label. And because the recyclers use old machinery, the label choice matters even more,” says Guy Phillips, General Manager at Kiwi Labels.

Kiwi Labels typically delivers transparent labels to its customers, which causes some difficulties for the PET recycling stream due to the absence of recycler detecting systems. Kiwi Labels is eagerly pushing the industry to improve recycling by offering new and innovative packaging solutions to help recyclers deliver clean PET recyclates for further use.

Maximizing the recyclability of containers with PET wash-off solution

Luckily, Kiwi labels discovered UPM Raflatac’s RW85C PET wash-off solution. Unlike traditional label materials, wash-off label solutions for PET containers separate easily during the industrial washing process, floating away from the high-value, clean PET flakes and allowing a greater yield to be recovered without contamination. These flakes can be converted into new pellets for PET packaging, reducing waste and supporting the circular economy.

After successful trials with the RW85C PET wash-off solution, any remaining concerns disappeared, and Kiwi Labels gained new business from brand owners.

“UPM Raflatac’s solution really works well. It enhances the efficiency of the PET recycling process without requiring any changes to our existing labeling equipment,” Phillips adds.

The future is circular with UPM Raflatac’s sustainable label solution

Brand owners in New Zealand are facing growing pressure to change due to the environmental problems caused by the waste and pollution crisis. According to the NZ Packaging Council, New Zealanders consume about 735 000 tonnes of packaging every year and recycle only about 58 per cent. The New Zealand market is facing a huge need to develop more sustainable products and solutions. To reduce plastic waste, there needs to be more recyclable packaging – which applies not only to the containers, but the label liners as well.

UPM Raflatac is labeling a smarter future beyond fossils by innovating sustainable solutions. The company has extended its sustainable portfolio with products like PET wash-off label materials as well as providing more eco-friendly services, such as the RafCycle™ by UPM Raflatac recycling service. With its strong commitment to leadership in sustainable labeling, UPM Raflatac’s solution helps converters like Kiwi Labels become frontrunners in the industry by increasing both product recyclability and reuse. It is a truly sustainable solution which proves that labels can contribute significantly to unlocking a more sustainable future.


Kiwi Labels

Across 44 years, Kiwi Labels has forged a national presence in FMCG labels. Kiwi Labels are NZ pioneers in digitally-printed labels, a market position which they maintain to this day. Recently Kiwi have successfully entered embellished markets for wine & honey labels. Also from Christchurch, Mark-it Labels enjoyed a loyal nationwide client base in nursery, fresh produce & logistics. In 2017, under the guidance of General Manager Guy Phillips, Kiwi and Mark-it joined forces, creating a broader business competing in multiple markets. In 2018 Kiwi installed a Prati Vega+ BKL press, and are now producing extended content (multipart/booklet/coupon) labels. In 2019 Kiwi also deployed impactful additional flexo capacity.

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