ARE YOUR LABELS AS SUSTAINABLE AS YOU THINK?
Sustainability in your product labels goes beyond “Is this stock recyclable?”. That’s definitely one of the concerns, but it doesn’t stop there.
Choosing a sustainable stock doesn’t necessarily mean your label is environmentally friendly. Don’t worry though, we’re going to walk through the different considerations that go into making the lifecycle of your labels truly sustainable.
BEFORE, DURING, & AFTER - THE HIDDEN LIFE OF LABELS
As an earth-loving, eco-conscious member of the business community, you’ve likely already considered the sustainability of your label stock. (Maybe you’ve even read up on some of our sustainable stocks, like Ocean Action and Forest Film - if not, get the scoop here.)
However — your labels have a secret life.
It might not be *quite* as scandalous as that distant relative you’ve heard about that had a secret second family in another country — but in terms of sustainability, it’s pretty juicy.
Buckle up, we’re going to spill the tea.
SOURCING & MANUFACTURING
It seems like it should be a given that if you choose a natural label stock that’s not fossil-based, it’s an eco-friendly choice, right?
Yes and no. Similar to organic produce — it’s ostensibly an excellent choice to make, but if your organic fruit and veggies have been shipped from across the world and stored for months in refrigerated facilities, is it an environmental net positive?
Likewise, paper labels may seem like a sensibly eco-friendly label option but if the material used to create those labels isn’t sourced from responsibly managed forests and manufactured ethically, the overall sustainability is questionable.
PRODUCTION & SHIPPING
It’s worth mentioning that you can (and should) ask questions about the sustainability practices of the manufacturer of your label stock.
You can absolutely dig in and ask questions about these practices!
Finally, one of the most significant things to consider in the sustainability process for your labels is their full lifecycle.
When your label has done its admirable job, what happens to it? It’s not always as simple as choosing a recyclable label stock and skipping off into the sunset, content with your sustainable practices.
There are three major components of your labels, and for them to be as eco-friendly as possible, you’ll need to question the sustainability of them all.
The good news is that once you know the questions to ask, it’s not complicated to make sure you have all the info. More on that below!
THE BIG THREE - MATERIAL, LINER, & ADHESIVE
Most labels have three main components — the stock, the liner, and the adhesive. (It’s worth noting that there are more details, but these are the biggies.)
So, let’s talk about how the different elements can fly under the radar and potentially impact the overall sustainability of your labels.
Not all label stock is created equally! If your sustainable stock is paired with the wrong ink, liner, or adhesive, it can mean that those labels won’t be able to be composted or recycled.
Label stocks come in lots of different materials, styles, and functions. Some, like Forest Film and Ocean Action, look, feel, and perform identically to standard plastic labels but are far more sustainably made!
The backing that your labels peel off of when they’re applied aren’t always made from sustainable materials, OR properly disposed of post-application.
Some manufacturers have offer linerless label stock, or recycling programs for your liners.
Lastly, the adhesive on your labels can impact their ability to be recycled or composted. Not all adhesives are compatible with all stocks, however, most sustainable label stocks have eco-friendly adhesives they can be paired with.
There you have it! The most sustainable labels combine eco-friendly label stocks, liners, and adhesives. Now that you know what to ask about, you’re on your way to creating the most sustainable labels.
Have questions or want more details on the elements of sustainable labels? No problem.
Our Label Specialists are ready and waiting with more details on what eco-friendly label solution will work best for you.