How can your labels promote circular packaging?

Labels are everywhere and on everything we consume.

They can act as a change agent by improving packaging sustainability, informing about the sustainability of the product, and promoting a circular economy by enabling the recyclability and reusability of packaging. But what does it take to make your labels promote circular packaging?

In practice, there are two approaches that you can take – use label materials that better enable recycling and reuse or increase the amount of recycled material in your labels and packaging. For the best sustainable packaging results, combine these two approaches.

circular packaging

Enable recycling or reuse of packaging

Efficient reuse and recycling is fundamental for circular packaging. To advance recycling efficiency, pay attention to:

  • Recycling compatibility: Optimize recycling compatibility between the packaging and the label to ensure efficient recycling.
  • Labeling solution: Recycling or reuse efficiency can be improved with, for example, wash-off solutions.
  • Improving the yield: By increasing recycling efficiency, we can help cut the demand for fossil-based materials by improving the yield.

Learn about recyclable packaging materials

Increase the proportion of recycled content

Adding recycled content to your packaging helps:

  • Circular economy to thrive: Increasing the demand for recycled content and materials creates a natural market for circular packaging solutions.
  • Reduce the environmental burden: Manufacturing products from recycled materials can keep landfills from growing and reduce other negative burdens on the environment.
  • Advance circular design principles: Wood fibers can be mechanically recycled 5–7 times and plastics up to 10 times.

Learn about recycled labels


What does it take to recycle plastic packaging and labels?

There are two ways to recycle plastic: mechanical and chemical. Both are needed on the path towards a more sustainable future of plastic packaging recycling and circular packaging. The main difference of the two is that while mechanical recycling maintains the polymer structure, chemical recycling breaks it down into more basic building blocks.

Our SmartChoice™ portfolio includes films made with both mechanically and chemically recycled materials

Our SmartChoice™ portfolio includes films made with both mechanically and chemically recycled materials. Recyclable packaging materials are a vital part of the global circular economy and creating new contemporary sustainable products such as PE PCRVanish™ PCR, PP C-PCR, and, Ocean Action labels made from ocean bound plastic waste, is at the very core of UPM Raflatac.


Pioneering labeling solutions that enable circular packaging

Enable circular packaging with SmartCircle

Are you looking to go circular? Promote circular packaging by choosing label materials that advance packaging recyclability and reuse. Solutions from our SmartCircle portfolio are the result of our relentless research in circular technologies, including e.g., wash-off labels that improve PET bottle recycling efficiency.

Go circular with wash-off labels 


Reach pure circularity for your label release liners with RafCycle™

Recycling your label waste can have an impact on your CO2 emissions. Utilizing our RafCycle label release liner recycling service allows you to do just that while promoting label circularity. With RafCycle, you can:

  1. Enable circular economy with closed loop solutions
  2. Support the efficient use of raw materials
  3. Reduce your label waste recycling costs
  4. Make waste management more effortless
  5. Create brand and business value

Get started with RafCycle


Collaborations enable us to foster circular packaging

The Global Commitment initiative by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation brings together key industry stakeholders to create a circular economy for plastics, starting with packaging. UPM Raflatac has signed up to the initiative among hundreds of organizations including many of the world’s largest packaging producers, brands, retailers and recyclers, as well as governments and NGOs.


Our promise to the Global Commitment

Recyclable packaging materials

100% sustainable plastic packaging

We enable our customers' plastic packaging to be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable.

Reduced plastic packaging

We produce solutions that help our customers reduce unnecessary plastic packaging.

more sustainable food labels

More sustainable labels

We’re developing labels with more recycled content that are suitable and safe for different end-uses.

Recycled liner waste

With RafCycle we enable our partners to return all PET and paper label liners.

Sustainable production plastics & Zero production waste to landfills

All plastic packaging used in our production units will be reusable, recyclable or compostable, with no waste taken to landfills by 2025.

Developing renewable labeling

We’re committed to moving beyond fossils by developing alternative, net zero renewable labeling solutions.

The Plastics Pact network

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Plastics Pact Network is a globally aligned response to plastic waste and pollution, enabling vital knowledge sharing and coordinated action. It brings together key stakeholders to implement solutions towards a circular economy for plastic, tailored to each geography. We are signatories of the US Plastics Pact and South Africa Plastics Pact.

Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging

Packaging that cannot be eliminated or reused must be kept in circulation – out of the environment. We have endorsed the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) pact for circular packaging. Together with +150 leading organizations we are committed to mitigating the environmental impacts of our products throughout their lifecycle.