Everything You Need To Know About Biodegradable Label Materials
Sustainability is becoming a priority for many consumers. Customers now look at how businesses and manufacturers are reducing their impact on the planet and are choosing to invest in companies that have green practices in place.
When it comes to your product labels, there are many ways you can make your packaging and labelling more environmentally friendly. Using biodegradable label materials in your labelling machines is an easy and efficient way of improving your sustainability. Advanced labelling systems have the ability to produce biodegradable labels as long as you are using suitable materials. In this mini-guide, we are sharing everything you need to know about biodegradable label materials.
What Are Biodegradable Labels?
Biodegradable labels will be broken down naturally over time. Most materials will break down with time, but some will leave residue of micro-plastics or emit harmful gasses in the process. When we talk about biodegradable labels, we are referring to materials that don’t leave any trace once broken down, and therefore are not harmful to the environment. Some people believe biodegradable labels are made from plant-based materials or sustainable sources, but this doesn’t have to be the case. When choosing labels for your labelling machine, you will usually be able to find biodegradable options for matt and gloss paper, as well as white and transparent film.
Using Biodegradable Inks In Labelling Machines
Having biodegradable labels is a great start, but if you print on them with inks that aren’t sustainable, then you will undo all your hard work. Some inks, such as hydrocarbon-based inks, can be hazardous to both the environment and the people using them. These inks are sometimes used in labelling machinery, and they release poisonous compounds called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, into the air when they are drying. Biodegradable inks, such as water-based or vegetable-based inks, are far safer and also biodegradable. Always make sure you are choosing these ink types for your advanced labelling systems.
It is not just the inks in your labelling machine that you need to consider, but the coatings and finishings you are choosing for your product labels. Coatings, plastics, and petroleum-based dyes are all commonly used on labels, and they make paper difficult to biodegrade. Polymer printing films are a popular choice for those looking for more sustainable packaging options.
Biodegradable Packaging Labels
Biodegradable labels are only worthwhile if you are going to use them on a product that is also biodegradable. Using these types of labels on a glass jar or bottle is going to be a waste of time and money. Cardboard packaging is the most popular option for those using biodegradable labels because it can also break down naturally over time and be appropriately recycled. It is crucial to bear in mind that biodegradable materials shouldn’t be dumped in landfill, as when they are buried, they will not have access to the oxygen and microorganisms needed to break down. Biodegradable labels and packaging should always be recycled appropriately.
For more information on using biodegradable materials in your labelling machines and further advice on making sustainable choices for your packaging, speak with our team today.