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UPM Specialty Papers equips Lohmann with recyclable paper liners for the tape industry

#UPM Specialty Papers equips Lohmann with recyclable paper liners for the tape industry

02 Nov 2023 — UPM Specialty Papers and adhesive tape specialist Lohmann have teamed up to boost paper liner recycling in the tape industry. The collaboration builds on UPM LinerLoop, the company’s closed-loop paper liner recycling solution, launched in 2018. 

For adhesive tape liners, the greatest technical barrier to high-yield recycling is that the industry has traditionally used siliconized release liners with a darker brown shade, explains UPM. As the typical shade of glassine is white or light, recycling darker colored glassine grades in the same stream contaminates the recycled pulp. 

“In the partnership, Lohmann and UPM Specialty Papers have worked together to find the best all-round solution to design the liner material so that the recyclability would be optimized. For example, the standard dark yellow color of the tape industry has been replaced by white in the products to ensure the compatibility of tapes to the labels recycling stream,” a spokesperson at UPM Specialty Papers tells Packaging Insights

“UPM’s primary contribution was its expertise in highly demanding papers for liners and recycling paper liners.”

Furthermore, a Lohmann spokesperson adds that the company has begun introducing recyclable paper liners in its Eco-range of products. “The plan is to roll out, in steps, to the other areas. This does need customer awareness, so we have created a training program for our salesforce.”

Paper packaging waste. Paper recycling streams offer a drop-in solution for meeting Lohmann’s target of improving the recyclability of liner waste.Keeping fibers in the loop 
From a functional perspective, the performance of lighter shades has to match the performance of darker shades, explains UPM. High-performing white liners were already available from UPM and other suppliers, which is why Lohmann introduced its bio-based and solvent-free tapes, branded DuploCOLL Eco, with the new white paper liner to facilitate recycling with “the highest possible” value.

Solutions such as UPM LinerLoop and other established paper and paperboard recycling streams offer a drop-in solution for meeting Lohmann’s target of improving the recyclability of liner waste. 

Lohmann says it is pursuing measures to reduce waste, increase the reusability of packaging and the number of recyclable products and product components. The aim is to minimize the consumption of primary resources while keeping the fibers in the recycling loop for as long as possible.

Waste-free liner recycling
Liner recycling starts with collecting and sorting the material. “The used liner needs to come clean of cores, matrix waste, labels and adhesive before being fed into the recycling process,” explains the UPM spokesperson. “Many label industry operators have started to set up a sizable collection effort to bring the material back to recycling.”

“Used paper liners are somewhat more challenging to repulp than standard printing paper recycling, but with suitable equipment, this high-value feedstock can be salvaged and used as high-value recyclate to almost any fiber-based packaging — especially if the silicone is removed in the process,” they say. 

To help achieve zero-waste targets across the value chain, UPM is supporting industry-level initiatives like CELAB (Toward a Circular Economy for Labels) and Afera, the European tape industry network, to boost the collection and recycling of used paper liners.

“Recyclability is also the key design principle of all our products. To improve the recyclability of the paper liners, we have introduced color harmonization in the tape industry and product features that help repulping and desiliconizing.”

“UPM is, to date, a big user of recycled fiber, and our research centers are very well equipped to evaluate and develop recyclability. This along with understanding other end-of-life scenarios, like compostability, has been a key capability within our development activity. UPM has set ambitious responsibility targets for 2030, and further promoting material efficiency and circular economy is one of those,” concludes the UPM spokesperson.

By Natalie Schwertheim 

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