Label industry creates recycling consortium

With a shared goal of creating a sustainable self-adhesive labeling industry, more than 30 companies from around the world today have established a new consortium to promote recycling.

Currently only 52 percent of matrix and liner waste is recycled globally. CELAB (Circular Economy for Labels) is an industry initiative, founded by companies in the self-adhesive label industry to create greater circularity by enhancing and promoting matrix and release liner recycling around the world.

Comprising many of the self-adhesive label industry’s largest companies, CELAB will operate as a coalition, empowered to reach across the entire value chain to promote a circular economy for self-adhesive label materials. CELAB is designed to facilitate collaboration at a global level and encourage the universal adoption of best practices while fostering regionally appropriate initiatives and cooperation.

“The moment has arrived to create a globally focused platform for recycling solutions,” said Paul Nathanson, a senior principal at Bracewell LLP and spokesperson for CELAB.

“Brands are eager to communicate their commitment to sustainability in response to consumer demands to reduce their carbon footprint. With increased recycling capability gradually emerging from suppliers, producers, waste management, chemical recyclers and others, we see a tremendous opportunity to facilitate collaboration with partners up and down our industry’s value chain.”

CELAB is guided by four principles:

  1. Develop cost effective solutions and work towards the most environmentally favorable options.
  2. Utilize the value chain to build scale and effectively advance recycling solutions for the label printers and applicators.
  3. Establish an impartial organization to drive progress aligned to legislative and consumer requirements.
  4. Enable, through regional working groups, global oversight for consistency of communications and process.

Due to the wide variance in production processes and recycling capability in different markets, CELAB’s structure includes a Global Steering Committee and regional Branches.

Global steering committee

The Global Steering Committee sets priorities for the consortium. The regional Branches create work streams on various aspects of matrix and release liner recycling, including analyzing technical issues, promoting the use and creation of recycling networks and solutions, interacting with government regulators, and educating the industry and public.

There are currently two regional Branches—one in Europe and one in North America — with plans to form additional regional Branches in the future. Matrix and liner accessibility will be measured in cost difference to landfill, a metric to be established by working teams in each region.

“CELAB is technology- and solution-neutral in order to ensure that the most viable solutions that contribute to sustainability are developed and promoted for matrix and release liner recycling,” said Nathanson.

“The Steering Committee is designed to serve as a ‘clearinghouse’ for best practices and solutions developed by the regional Branches and to be promoted globally.”

Membership is open to all companies in the self-adhesive label supply chain who commit to CELAB’s objectives and are willing to help support its work.

Avery Dennison Corporation is one of the organization’s founding steering committee members.

“Collaboration is at the heart of our sustainability vision. This marks our first industry-wide effort to work together and we’re learning a lot. In a competitive environment, this isn’t always easy but CELAB is the embodiment of how shared goals can reach across an entire value chain to push the industry forward towards circularity,” said Renae Kezar, senior director, global leader, sustainability, label and graphic materials, Avery Dennison.