Story | 06/02/2022 11:46:59 | 4 min Read time

ModTek: Enabling smaller brands to give label waste a new life with RafCycle

Many smaller brands are now directing their release liner waste into new use with ModTek’s creative approach to offering RafCycle by UPM Raflatac recycling service.


1. To offer RafCycle to all of their customers, big and small, ModTek acts as a storage hub for release liner waste until sufficient volume is reached for pick up.

2. UPM Raflatac collaborates with their customers to enable the wider availability of RafCycle release liner recycling service in the PSL sector.


Since the inception of his business in 2006, ModTek owner, Shawn Borman, has focused on running a responsible business offering consistent quality and service. This applies to both customer relationships and to ModTek’s sustainability actions.

Borman states, “We have always tried to be responsible when it comes to our carbon footprint, but the type of waste generated in this industry is really not eco-friendly.” Motivated by his desire to take action regarding release liner waste generated by pressure-sensitive label (PSL) production, Borman sought out help from UPM Raflatac.

UPM Raflatac has been enabling the recycling of release liner globally for more than ten years via their service, RafCycle by UPM Raflatac, which launched in the U.S. in 2018. When ModTek needed a recycling solution, RafCycle was a good fit aside from one caveat: ModTek didn’t produce enough release liner waste to qualify for this service. Borman had to get creative.

The ModTek team started to solicit their customers to gauge their interest in recycling their release liner. The response was an overwhelming yes!

Jason Campbell, Co-Owner, Slack Tide Brewing Co. states, “As brewery owners, my brother and I strive to reduce as much byproduct as possible to help the planet. We repurpose or recycle our aluminum cans, packaging and spent grains in an effort to reduce the amount of waste that goes to the landfill. When Modtek asked us to participate with them in the Rafcycle program, we jumped at the chance of eliminating yet another item that goes to the landfill. It’s an awesome idea and we are rallying other brewers to participate in the RafCycle program with us.”

Once Modtek understood the rules, they figured out how they could play the game. They offered to store smaller amounts of release liner waste at their facility, until there was enough volume for UPM Raflatac to pick up the waste and deliver it to their recycling partner.

To reinforce their support of this initiative, UPM Raflatac developed a program to give ModTek easy access to a select portfolio of labeling materials. This helps ModTek to service their customers in a timely manner and grow their business, while increasing RafCycle participation.

Greg Owen, Interim Director, Paper Laminates, UPM Raflatac Americas, states, “We’ve set a goal to enable our RafCycle partners to recycle 100 percent of their liner waste via our program. We’re eager to support ModTek’s clever approach to make RafCycle available to brands that otherwise don’t have the volume or storage space to take advantage of our service.”

Currently, ModTek is collecting about 5000 pounds of release liner each month, between paper liner and PET liner. The relationship between ModTek and UPM Raflatac extends
beyond RafCycle. Borman states, “UPM Raflatac has some very strong engineering and troubleshooting support. We are confident when conferencing UPM Raflatac in with our
customers directly.”

ModTek and UPM Raflatac have shown that creative thinking and collaboration are making release liner recycling more wide-spread and accessible to brands of all sizes.


RafCycle by UPM Raflatac

UPM Raflatac is a frontrunner in solutions for managing the challenges of label waste. Through our RafCycle recycling service, we offer our partners possibilities to contribute to circular economy by turning their label waste into a resource. We look forward to developing new and existing partnerships with customers and brand owners on the road to zero landfill waste. 

Learn more about RafCycle


ModTek is a privately held manufacturer of pressure sensitive labels and tags. Founded in 2006, ModTek has quickly become a major supplier in the primary label market. Thanks to its dedicated team of industry professionals, strong vendor partnerships and an unrivaled commitment to quality and service, ModTek will keep its delivery dates so you can keep yours.

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