Recyclable Flexible Packaging

Sustainable Labels & Packaging


By Scott Begbie, Director of Sales, Repacorp, Inc.

As more and more companies commit to sustainability goals, funding and partnerships have sprung into action. The recent industry buzz is all about more collaboration between consumer packaged goods companies, suppliers, and recycling facilities. Whether your customer’s label or packaging goal is biodegradable, compostable, environmentally benign, recyclable, repulpable, has recycled content, is water dissolvable, or is FSC Certified, sustainability is the focus of the material, adhesive, and ink suppliers driving change.

Mactac developed a Simply Sustainable brand that is their initiative to choose environmental best practices, ingrained in responsible innovation, culture, and values.5 SunChemical’s sustainability portfolio supports the five R’s: Create products and technologies that Reuse, Reduce, Renew, Recycle and Redesign to support the transition from a linear to a circular economy, thereby reducing CO2 and environmental impact.1 UPM Raflatac takes a 360° approach to sustainable packaging solutions—from responsible sourcing to manufacturing, services, and design. UPM is committed to its vision of labeling a smarter future–beyond fossils.8 HP is recognized among the 2020 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World and has achieved numerous sustainability awards year after year. The HP Indigo press has compostable inks that are certified compatible for recycling.4

Recyclable Flexible Packaging



In the label industry, material suppliers are choosing environmental best practices and are building a culture of responsible manufacturing and innovation. They are using less energy for manufacturing and less raw materials, reducing freight (which includes reducing fuel and CO2 emissions), reducing packaging waste (cores, cartons, wrapping, etc.), and increasing productivity. Suppliers are also innovating new products to reduce waste and promote recyclability for the entire supply chain.5


  • Material suppliers are using post-consumer waste label stock within the product construction.8 UPM Raflatac announced it is the first label material producer to bring a new wood-based polypropylene film material into the market. UPM converts pulp production residue into renewable naphtha, a drop-in raw material for the chemical industry. Replacing fossil raw materials bring substantial climate and environmental benefits. This film will help brand owners who need to replace traditional fossil-based virgin materials with renewable non-fossil-based materials.7


  • Adhesives are being formulated with renewable resources.
  • Polypropylene label stocks are being manufactured with an adhesive that will float off PET clamshells, bottles, and other containers during the washing process for recycling, leaving no adhesive residue behind. This allows the recycled PET to be utilized for new high-value products creating a circular economy. 5
  • Recycle-compatible adhesives, which when applied to paper, can be recycled with paper that is repulpable.5


  • Material suppliers are making thinner liners, which reduce environmental impact and provide up to 15% more labels per roll.5
  • Instead of bleached liners, Kraft liners are being used to reduce carbon emissions.5
  • Suppliers are using recycled and post-consumer waste in their liners.5


Shrink Sleeves

  • New resin technology has been developed, allowing the PET shrink sleeves to be recycled together with PET bottles.
  • Ink supplier, SunChemical®, has developed washable ink technologies to allow increased recyclability of shrink sleeves. The inks are formulated to detach from the film so that the ink particles can be filtered from caustic wash solutions in typical recycling processes. The inks removed do not bleed or stain the PET flakes that are being recycled.1


Flexible Packaging            

Made possible by material advancements and new technology, flexible packaging’s growth has been primarily due to a need for economic and sustainable alternatives to ridged packaging.

  • Fifty pounds of glass bottles equal one and a half pounds of pouches. An unfilled 8-ounce glass bottle with a metal cap weighs 198.4 grams. In comparison, flexible material with the same product capacity weighs 5.7 grams. For equal amounts of product, 26 truckloads of bottles are needed, but only one truckload of unfilled 8 oz. pouches.9
  • In addition to flexible packaging using less energy and generating less CO2 emissions in transportation, it also has reduced mass and contributes less to landfills.9
  • The Flexible Plastic Pouches Market will be worth $73.5 Billion by 2026. This increase in demand is due to flexible packaging being lightweight, convenient, and a cost-effective packaging solution for food and beverage applications.3
  • The Polypropylene Recycling Coalition will distribute around $1 million in catalytic grants to advance polypropylene recycling in the United States. This investment targets sortation of polypropylene (PP) at mechanical recycling facilities and local consumer education efforts. The funds will improve curbside PP recycling for an additional 3% of all U.S. households and increase the recovery of 4.3 tons of PP annually.2

Sustainability is a global issue and is no longer a future problem; it is a personal and corporate responsibility. How are you answering your customer’s sustainability goals for labels and packaging?



1    Nikola Juhasz, Global Technical Director of Sustainability at SunChemical® podcast: (

2    Flexible Packaging Magazine (

3    Polypropylene recycling hitting its stride in 2021 article, Flexible Packaging Magazine (

4    Hewlett-Packard® 4AA7-8653ENW.pdf (

5    Mactac® | Simply Sustainable Roll Label Solutions (

6    Accucote® Sustainable Products (

7    UPM Raflatac® responds to the growing need for renewable packaging materials by unveiling the industry’s first wood-based film material (

8    Sustainable Labels (

9    FPA, “Flexible Packaging: Less Resources. Less Footprint. More Value.” Case Study Brochure (


Labels printed on Digital HP printer

Repacorp is a 2021 PEAK Award Recipient!


We are pleased to announce that the Print Services and Distribution Association (PSDA) has awarded Repacorp with a 2021 PEAK Award for Best Cost Savings Solutions for a Client, for the entry “Spatter”.

PSDA’s PEAK Awards program honors the work of industry professionals who have met their customers’ needs by providing outstanding value-added products and services through creativity in design, production, fulfillment, and other services while solving problems or improving business functions.

We are so proud of the work our team does every day, and this award is an affirmation of your commitment to producing outstanding work of the highest quality. Thank you to all of our team members who collaborated and contributed to this project!

Learn more about PSDA and the PEAK Awards.


Description of Challenge and Solution:

When we started running these labels the volume for 3 versions was low and we ran the job on our Digital­­ HP. However, due to the fact that it is a clear label and the label is going on a colored bottle, the client did not want the main color of the label affected by the bottle color so we had to print 4 layers of white ink and then the color. As the job grew, also did the cost. Running 4 hits of white, plus color, and then having to take to an ­additional press to varnish and cut and then to finishing equipment the cost was skyrocketing. The reason it took us so long to change our production process was the fact that 4 layers of white needed to be printed beneath a very detailed “splatter” of ink pattern–a pattern that is very difficult to hold multi-layers of ink on top of each other.

However, if we were able to accomplish the change, we could save the customer per order around $14,000.00. We performed a test print to see if we could hold the registration of 2 white plus 5 spot colors, plus varnish (8 total print stations). Not only did we hold the very difficult layering of the inks due to our amazing press operators, but we also ended up being able to match the colors the customer needed. The customer runs this job about twice a year. By switching the job to flexographic printing, the customer will save around $28,000 per year. For a small company that is a lot of money!

Peak Award

Long Runs of Digital Labels

Long Runs of Digital Labels with Multiple Versions

Do you have an order with large quantities and multiple versions or SKUs?

If you answered “yes”, we have just the press for your application!

Repacorp offers high-speed digital technology for long runs of digital labels with multiple versions. This 13″ wide high-speed press combines the productivity associated with flexo, with the flexibility offered by digital rapid job change. The 4-color digital press uses curable UV inks, offers an opaque white option, cold foil, and two additional flexo stations for PMS colors, fluorescent ink, metallic ink, or spot varnish. Kyocera print heads provide 600 dpi native resolution, which means smaller drops are printed in order to create finer detail on both images and small point text.

This long-run digital press offers back printing, black variable data, and laminating with roll to roll or roll to sheet finishing on just about any material. Our three flexo die stations provide top cutting, perforating, sheeting, and undercutting capabilities. To top it all off, we added an Advanced Vision Technology system that delivers 100% in-line print inspection and quality control. With the AVT system, we are able to ensure quality and color repeatability from label to label and from one run to the next.