Shrink sleeves are everywhere, on store shelves and online. Combine that with the new eco-friendly policies and plastics limitations coming up across Canada and in Montreal, and these 360degree solutions are raising the big questions. Brand owners and climate-conscious consumers alike want to know - are shrink sleeves recyclable? 

Let's dive into this! There are three main things to look at when it comes to answering these questions:

  • Shrink sleeve materials. 
  • Adaptations that make shrink sleeves more recyclable.
  • Looking forward and working on getting better together. 

Substrate Switch-Ups; AKA Recyclable Label Stocks

The building blocks of a shrink sleeve - the film substrate and the inks printed on it - have come a long way! Historically, the most common shrink sleeve material was PVC (polyvinyl chloride). This stock is much less prevalent today because it's hard to recycle. Leading to the emergence of PETG (glycol-treated polyethylene terephthalate). A more recyclable alternative, this stock is used nationwide. However, while this material is more recyclable, it's not PET recyclable (i.e. drop it in your blue bin recyclable). At the end of the day, that's what you're looking for. 

PET film has just come onto the scene, and we think it's a game-changer. PET film has a lower density and is not treated with glycol. This means it can be recycled just like a plastic water bottle or other single use-plastic in your blue bin. 

A 'Perf'ect Recycling Solution

Besides a substrate switch-up, shrink sleeve users can also request a micro-perforation on their sleeves. This is like a little zipper that allows end-users to easily remove the sleeve after use and dispose of it in the correct recycling stream. A superb printer can provide micro-perforation that's so fine and precise it's barely noticeable, a small change for a big eco-impact! 

Keep the Conversation Going

Sustainability is one of the hottest topics in the packaging and labelling industries today. We want to be sure it stays that way going forward. Brands of all sizes need to continue to make changes that will push every link of the supply chain to make better choices. It's a movement that we are all a part of now. Our team at Summit Labels is committed to doing all we can to continue creating innovative solutions to support our clients in this journey! 

Ready to get started with Perfs and PET? Check out our free Shrink Sleeve sample packs

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