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Image showing the Mercian Labels logo at the top centre with an icon of two hands shaking (in greeting) below it with the SCREEN Europe logo to the left and the SAPPI logo to the right. Beneath this are three images of packs of Whitakers chocolates with the one on the left being primarily in brown, the one on the right being primarily in turquoise and the one in the centre being primarily in green - each with a union jack flag image in their respective colours as a background

First 100% Recyclable Flexible Paper Packaging

9th February 2024 Mark Prior 0 Comments

With our strong focus on innovation, Mercian Labels are delighted to announce the launch of the UK’s first truly 100% recyclable flexible paper packaging product, which has been developed in conjunction with our digital print partners at SCREEN Europe, and the market leading paper manufacturing experts at SAPPI, on behalf of the specialty chocolate makers at Whitakers.


100% Recyclable substrate

With a growing global interest in sustainable packaging, product manufacturers have long been searching for a more sustainable way of packaging their goods, which does not rely on traditional (fossil fuel based) OPP plastic flexible packaging.


There have been trials and even products before which use flexible packaging material utilising a paper substrate, but they have always had to use a polymer laminate to provide the required barrier properties, which has ultimately meant that the packaging cannot be easily and fully 100% recycled in standard household waste recycling streams, but with the advent of this new innovation from SAPPI, all that has now changed.


Instead of using a non-recyclable polymer laminate, the barrier properties of the new paper are created by a water-based polymer solution which is flooded onto the reverse of the reel. As soon as this new material enters the recycling stream, it immediately starts to break down in the same way that the rest of the household paper and cardboard waste does, without any additional, unrecyclable, material being left behind.


Low impact printing

Beyond the material itself, there are also multiple environmental and brand owner benefits from digitally printing your flexible packaging.


As ever, the latest digital printing presses are ideal for short to medium run projects and for ramping up production volumes in the early stages of market development. The use of digital print files reduces costs, significantly reduces lead times, and provides incredible flexibility and agility, enabling customers to quickly and easily adapt and update their artwork to meet changing regulatory requirements, or to improve brand messaging / product customisation.


This focus on speed and agility allows customers to reduce waste from packaging material obsolescence, as they only need to produce the quantities they need at that time, rather than creating huge stock holdings, whilst the digital press’ quick make ready times further reduce waste, reduce the economic requirement for seemingly large minimum order quantities and enable much quicker job turnaround times.


Again, many of the benefits of digital printing have been on offer before, but SCREEN’s ability to introduce water based, food compliant inks to the process has only further enhanced this product’s sustainable and environmental credentials.


If you would like to explore the full potential of this innovative, sustainable and 100% recyclable paper packaging solution for yourselves, you can book your free ticket and visit Mercian Labels’ stand (J82) in Hall 7 at the Packaging Innovations & Empack show at the NEC on Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd of February, where you will be able to experience the future of sustainable packaging, as SCREEN, SAPPI and Mercian Labels’ collaboration for Whitakers chocolates will be showcased for the first time – an enticing blend of innovation, eco-friendliness, and deliciousness!