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New Label Adhesive for Reusable packaging

03 Mar 2015

Plastics of all varieties used as a packaging material have gained favour over wood or paper in recent years. Plastic may cost more than its wooden counterpart when it comes to pallets, or even plain paper packaging, but its real advantage is that it can be re-used and therefore lower a business’s operating costs over the long term. A further advantage is the low weight compared with wood.

All of this works well until it is time to label a package. It is not possible to use a permanent label on a package that will be re-used for other goods at a later time. So the best solution is some kind of adhesive label. This is where the problems begin.

High and low energy surfaces

The adhesive used on the label has to be able to spread over the surface to create a strong bond. A very smooth surface such as on a waxed car has a low surface energy. A drop of rain will ball up when it falls on such a surface. Equally, the adhesive will fail to form a strong bond on it. Surfaces with a high energy are rougher and provide a greater area for the adhesive bond to hold. So the rule of thumb is that the rougher a surface the better the adhesive will hold.

Health standards issues

With food packaging and packaging for other sensitive goods smooth surfaces are preferred as they provide less opportunity for bugs and germs to settle on the container. However, on a smooth surface there is the risk of bacteria gathering around a poorly bonded label. With either solution, the health and hygiene problems remain and there can be further problems with residual adhesive that remains on the surfaces after a label is removed or replaced.

A permanent label that can be removed

The solution is a new adhesive label developed by Adestor, the self-adhesive paper division of Barcelona-based paper and packaging manufacturer Lecta. The product, called SA234, is an acrylic adhesive that is soluble in both hot and cold water. This means that the label can be removed from any packaging or other surface by immersion, submersion or by cleaning with a powerful water jet. It will leave no residue on the surface that could cause health issues.

Suitable for all surface types

This makes SA234 an ideal label for use on reusable packages and pallets. It can also be used on other surfaces such as glass, ceramics and many types of plastics. Not only will it adhere to a smooth surface it also performs extremely well on rough surfaces because of its soft tack. A further advantage is that this label can be used for packaging subject to subzero temperatures such as frozen turkeys for the Christmas market.

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