Pressure Sensitive Labels’ Impact on PET Recycling

According to the 2020 Power of Produce* research study, 66 percent of shoppers are willing to pay more for environmentally-friendly packaging, but only if the benefit is clearly explained. Yerecic Label always strives to be on the forefront of environmental responsibility and part of that is ensuring that our customers understand how they can improve the recyclability of their packaging.

This blog post will dive into the impact of labels on PET recycling, dos and don’ts of recycling claims, the recyclability testing process and the How2Recycle shopper communication program.

Impact of Labels on Recyclability

Paper pressure sensitive labels and standard adhesives are difficult to remove in the recycling process, particularly throughout the wash/decontamination cycles. Alternatively, Poly-olefin based labels with wash-away adhesive remove cleanly in the caustic process and allow for collection of the newly separated label material. The PET sinks to the bottom of the float tank as the olefins float to the top to be easily skimmed off and potentially used by recyclers in an alternative stream.

FTC Green Guides

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) green guides, it is deceptive to misrepresent that a product or package is recyclable. A product should not be marketed as recyclable unless it can be collected, separated, or otherwise recovered from the waste stream through an established recycling program or reuse or use in manufacturing or assembling another item. Recycled content includes recycled raw material, as well as used, reconditioned, and re-manufactured components. 

Critical Guidance Testing

The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) currently provides a recycling testing plan and test result evaluation criteria to assess the impact of an innovation on key aspects of recycling resins and packaging articles. So far this testing only applies to PET and HDPE packaging because these are the two resins where there is ample industry experience which allows APR to know how to test and how to evaluate test results with confidence. The purpose of these tests is to confirm that an innovation is fully compatible with the appropriate plastic recycling stream, and the three outcomes of these tests are outlined below.


How2Recycle is a standardized labeling system that clearly communicates recycling instructions to the public. The system involves a coalition of forward thinking brands who are empowering consumers through smart packaging labels to increase recycling.

The How2Recycle program includes review of Critical Guidance Testing results to determine the appropriate recycling instructions for consumers. 

Our Product Offerings

When it comes to sustainability in our product lines, Yerecic Label partners with environmentally conscious and innovative suppliers to provide current market solutions. Yerecic Label’s corrugated boxes have a targeted 70% post-consumer recycled content. All of our roll cores are one step above, at 100% post-consumer recycled content.

We also offer the SustainLabel!® product line with a vast array of sustainable materials. This product line features paper and film substrates that pass APR Benchmark & Critical Guidance Testing respectively, as well as substrates that feature recycled content.

Another significant barrier to closing the loop on pressure sensitive label materials is how to sustainably dispose of label roll liner after product application. Luckily we have a blog post tackling that issue!

*The Power of Produce is developed by FMI, conducted by 210 Analytics and sponsored by the Hillphoenix, Southeast Produce Council and Yerecic Label.