Denomination sustainability blog series

Number 7: Label Backing Liners

One of the biggest contributors to waste in our industry’s packaging supply chain is the unseen reems of label backing liners that accumulate at printers across the globe. A seemingly unavoidable component which contributes both weight and waste to any pack’s carbon footprint.


The first thing to be aware of is, not all liners are created equal. Some label stocks are supplied on glassine paper backings, a stock with a higher silicone content that makes them unrecyclable and destined for landfill. The alternative is a PET or rPET plastic liner which can be recycled or, in some regions, incinerated as a cleaner energy source than raw fossil fuels. Most printers will recycle this plastic backing, however even that solution is flawed. Recycling is done off-site, requiring the plastic to be transported via fossil-fuel powered truck (and in some instances ship), the recycling then requires intensive fossil-fuel supplied energy and water to be processed. All of this for a component that is, by definition, secondary.


Many of the major label suppliers are working on linerless solutions at varying stages of advancement. Fedrigoni’s Core Linerless Solutions are the most advanced, although with its requirement for specialist equipment, it’s not a seamless solution.


With EU regulations tightening around plastic waste in our supply chain, label suppliers will need to reach solutions sooner rather than later and – from what we’re seeing – they’re well on their way. As specialists in our industry we will be the first in line when scalable solutions are available as we work toward a plastic waste free supply chain.


As we look beyond plastic-free July we wanted to highlight the game-changing solutions already leading the way toward the future we need. Wise Wolf by Banrock Station is just that, with a category re-defining pack that proves a sustainable and circular future is not only possible – it has arrived.