UPM Raflatac SmartCircle PE offer receives RecyClass recognition for HDPE packaging recycling

Press Release, Product news 7.10.2021 11:00 EEST

UPM Raflatac’s unprinted SmartCircle™ PE labels with acrylic and hotmelt adhesive technologies have received recognition from RecyClass. The granted approval proves SmartCircle PE can be recycled in the HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) coloured stream*. RecyClass’ endorsement helps UPM Raflatac to meet the needs of brand owners in their search for recycling compatible labels.


Traditionally, plastic packaging has been designed with functionality and brand in mind, while its end-of-life management has been disregarded. Today, moving forward in the transition towards a circular economy, the design for recycling stands as an essential measure to accomplish circular life for plastics. It is the driver to improve recycling rates, quality and quantity for mechanical plastics recycling. 

“UPM Raflatac is working along the industry to make consumer plastic packaging recycled. We want to support the recyclability of HDPE packaging with a monomaterial recycling compatible solution, our SmartCircle PE with acrylic and hotmelt adhesive technologies,“ says Katja Kivelä, Business Director, Food and HPC, Films & Specials SBU EMEIA, UPM Raflatac. “According to extensive, independent testing, our unprinted labels have had limited impact on the recycling quality. With RecyClass’ recognition, we can now prove that our labels don’t hinder the recycling process or recyclate quality. Brand owners can reduce the carbon footprint of their labels by up to 42%** by choosing our recycling compatible unprinted SmartCircle PE label solutions approved by RecyClass.”

“Today, the use of incompatible labels is among the key design issues for the HDPE recycling stream. We are delighted to see increasing innovation in this field, and with SmartCircle PE, the industry is a step closer towards ensuring the circularity of HDPE containers,” says Paolo Glerean, Chairman of RecyClass.

RecyClass is an initiative driven by the interest of brands, retailers, converters, raw material producers and recyclers to advance the recyclability of plastic packaging to improve recyclability and recyclate quality. With its scientific approach, RecyClass enhances and evaluates the recyclability of plastic packaging by developing methodologies and guidelines necessary to assess the recyclability of a package.  

*Specific conditions of the approval can be found in the RecyClass Technology Approval Letters:  
Letter 1 and Letter 2 

Please find the UPM Raflatac products complying with RecyClass recycling requirements here »

Read more about our industry collaboration with RecyClass »

Click here to download images »

**Results may vary depending on your specific choice of products and scope (see below).
Scope: Calculated cradle-to-grave using the avoided burden approach, September 2021. Global Warming Potential 100 years excluding biogenic carbon. Comparison between (a) baseline: PE film label with End of Life: 76% incineration, 24% landfill and (b) PE film label with RecyClass Approval and End of Life: face 100% recycled, adhesive 100% incinerated, liner 76% incinerated, 24% landfilled. The comparison includes full material credits for recycled plastics as well as credits for energy and electricity production from incineration.
Based on: UPM Raflatac's LCA study, externally verified and performed based on the guiding principles laid out in ISO 14040/44 and PAS 2050 standards. Results are indicative and information is subject to change without notice. Results of different LCA or carbon footprint calculations cannot be compared.

For further information please contact:
Katja Kivelä, Business Director, Food and HPC, Films & Specials SBU EMEIA, UPM Raflatac, tel. +358 (2) 04167818

UPM, Media Relations
Mon-Fri 9:00-16:00 EET
tel. +358 40 588 3284

UPM Raflatac
UPM Raflatac is leading in sustainable labeling through our innovative self-adhesive label materials and services. We offer high-quality paper and film label stock for branding and promotion, informational labels, and labels with functionality. We operate a global network of factories, distribution terminals and sales offices. Our company employs around 3,000 people and made sales of EUR 1.6 billion (USD 1.9 billion) in 2020. UPM Raflatac is part of UPM. Find out how we are labeling a smarter future beyond fossils at www.upmraflatac.com.

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We deliver renewable and responsible solutions and innovate for a future beyond fossils across six business areas: UPM Biorefining, UPM Energy, UPM Raflatac, UPM Specialty Papers, UPM Communication Papers and UPM Plywood. As the industry leader in responsibility we are committed to the UN Business Ambition for 1.5°C and the science-based targets to mitigate climate change. We employ 18,000 people worldwide and our annual sales are approximately EUR 8.6 billion. Our shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd. UPM Biofore – Beyond fossils. www.upm.com

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