What is PCR and The Shift Towards PCR Plastics

In a previous article on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), I have discussed the responsibility of brands to recover, recycle, reuse, and dispose of the products they produce. And how they need to innovate their waste management initiatives.

Now, what if you could shift to packaging made from recycled materials? Such a step could help you preserve the environment, stop depending on consumers to recycle after use, and cater to shoppers who favor sustainable brands.

This is the crux of PCR!

What is PCR?

The term PCR refers to Post-Consumer Recycled (reprocessed) plastic, primarily manufactured at recycling plants from items that consumers have, in a way, already recycled. Hence, PCR plastic is clean plastic that needs no further recycling. Since PCR plastic comes from reprocessed or post-consumer plastic waste, it reduces the load on landfills – which is a big PLUS.

 

Sustainable Packaging With PCR

PCR packaging film is a sustainable packaging alternative. It is made using the reprocessed PCR plastic which is derived from recycled materials like plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, and aluminum, etc.

Hence, it is a much better alternative to virgin plastic derived from non-renewable resources like natural gas, putting a strain on our environment.

 

Benefits of PCR Plastic And Its Usage

 

POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT: Unlike virgin plastic, post-consumer recycled plastic is gentle on our planet. Since plastic waste gets rooted in recycling facilities, PCR plastic helps reduce toxic plastic waste that piles up at landfills.

 

STEP TOWARDS SUSTAINABILITY: There is a consistent rise in the number of shoppers and consumers sensitized about preserving the environment for their future generations. These individuals are making conscious efforts to buy from brands with strong sustainability goals. Hence, using PCR materials for your packaging needs will help you become more sustainable and tap into this growing consumer base.

 

FLEXIBLE PACKAGING MATERIAL: Today, PCR packaging films are being used to fulfill packaging needs across all major industries, including pharma and food. It is a flexible material that meets and passes all kinds of stringent quality checks.

 

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Today, companies worldwide are taking their sustainability goals seriously and recognizing the importance of reducing their carbon footprint. In this context, the shift towards PCR plastic materials is a welcome move. Though still in its early stages, it will be interesting to see how well brands adapt to this change and include post-consumer recycled plastic and packaging for their products.

Would you like an expert opinion on how you can support your sustainability goals with PCR plastic? Then feel free to book a discovery call with me at www.chetan-jain.com.

 

The Importance of Colour-Matching in Printed Packaging And How To Do It?

Colours form the heart and soul of print designs. So it is no wonder that brands spend a lot of time and attention selecting the correct colour scheme for their product’s packaging. However, the work does not stop here as it’s equally important to bring the design to life, exactly, the way it looks on the computer. Any mismatch and the printed design may appear far different from the intention, leading to unavoidable delays and unnecessary panic. It is here that the concept of color-matching comes in.

What is Colour Matching?

Simply put, colour matching refers to making sure that the colours in your packaging design, visible on screen, look the same once the design gets printed and takes its place on the final product. Hence, color-matching is crucial in printed packaging. It not only helps to maintain colour accuracy in terms of its hue, brightness, and saturation but avoids last-minute surprises and deviations from the intended result.

Ways to Achieve Colour Correctness in Printed Packaging

 

1.  Start Designing in the Most Appropriate Colour Space

Colours get represented differently in different colour spaces. Hence, to get desired results, it is recommended to work in the correct colour space right from the beginning. It means that you may have to go beyond the default colour profiles on your system, such as sRGB, and install the one most appropriate for your projects like Adobe RGB or CMYK.

2. Use Proofing Tools to Generate a Soft-Proof of Your Designs

Before you spend time and money printing the hard-proof of your design and being disappointed with the results, go in for soft-proofing using a calibrated monitor. An electronic-screen soft-proof is a highly beneficial alternative to get a sense of what the design and colours will look like upon printing and whether or not you’re on the right track.

3. Don’t Forget the Physical Print Proofs

After checking the artwork on your monitor, it’s time to get a digitally-printed physical proof of the design. Though it may seem unimportant, it is, in fact, the hard printed proof that helps to spot problem areas and possibly foretell inconsistencies that may crop up in the final version the printing press sends you and avoid them beforehand.

 4. Communicate Your Expectations to The Printer

It is always good practice to brief your printer about your expectations correctly, especially when they’re about to tackle large runs, tricky print jobs and complex reprints. So do provide them with colour matching samples, reference prints, and colour mixing references to maintain colour accuracy & reduce time wastages in corrections.

5. Ask for Cylinder Proofs

Most printers and consumers depend on cylinder proofs for print approval since they give the right colours up to a certain extent. However, cylinder proof does have its limitations.

  • The cylinder manufacturer must be using the same film and inks to match the proof, or there will be a deviation.
  • Proofing is done with high viscosity inks, whereas in printing, viscosity is lower, which can produce variations between the proof and the actual print run.
  • Proofing happens at a much slower speed than the actual commercial speed of printing. Slow speed would mean there would be a difference in dot transfer, thereby affecting the colours.

Though cylinder proof is a sensible parameter to check the print job, it can differ from the actual result. Hence, do keep a certain tolerance for colour shades in mind when relying on cylinder proofs.

6. Opt for a Colour Library

If you need special or uncommon colour profiles for your print packaging, you might want to consider working with a colour library such as Pantone or CMYK equivalents. For one, you will have access to a full gamut of colour references. And two, maintaining colour accuracy and representing your brand correctly will no longer be challenging.

7. Use Extended Colour Gamut Printing (ECG)

Extended Colour Gamut Printing is the methodology of introducing three additional inks, Orange, Green & Violet (OGV), to the CMYK Process Colours, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black during printing. Adding the extra colours extends or expands the range of colour printing and helps to reduce the overall dependence on spot colours. The resultant printed images are a lot more vivid with negligible colour difference.

8. Pay Attention to the Lighting

Whether you’re approving proofs or colour matching, it is crucial to have the correct lighting since even the slightest variation in your light source can change how visual is perceived. So try to maintain standard lighting conditions as that goes a long way in avoiding faulty approvals and perception-related glitches.

According to the International Standards Organisation ISO 3664, you should view and approve prints under a D50 equivalent light source.

 

CLOSING THOUGHTS

A little planning and forward-thinking goes a long way to complete the printing project without delays, rework, and glitches. And ensuring that you get your printed colours right and in perfect sync with the intended results.

 

Do you need an expert’s opinion on how you can improve your printing procedures and get consistent results, every time? Then feel free to book a discovery call with me at www.chetan-jain.com.

 

How Shrink Sleeves Affect PP Container Recycling

In our previous article, we talked about the effect of shrink sleeves on PET bottle recycling. In this article, let’s look at how PP containers react to recycling when shrink sleeves stay attached to them.

PP or Polypropylene is a type of plastic commonly used to manufacture food containers utilized in packaging takeaway food items and beverages, etc.

Though PP containers are recyclable, certain film substrates interfere with the recycling process if they are left attached to the containers. That’s why businesses must know which shrink films are best for proper recycling and the correct procedures to follow during PP container recycling.

 

Selection of a Film Substrate

Compatibility: Some sleeve label materials have a density of <1.0 and thus float in the float/sink tank, remaining with the PP. This material cannot be removed during the recycling process. Hence, it can contaminate the recycled PP if not compatible with the PP.

 

What’s the Solution?

  • Films compatible with PP recycling sink in water and can separate from the PP floating in the water. That’s why a preferred choice is to use full bottle sleeve labels specifically crafted for automatic sorting.
  • Considering that a full bottle sleeve gets attached to the full surface of the bottle, leaving only a small portion uncovered, we must select a material compatible with automatic sorting, or the sorter machine may segregate the PP bottle with the wrong materials destroying it.
  • Also, PVC material needs strict avoidance as even a trace amount can contaminate the reprocessed PP.

 

Label Inks

The type of ink used on sleeve labels of PP containers also has a bearing on their recyclability.

For example, certain types of label inks bleed during the wash step of the recycling process. If the PP container catches on to the ink color, it becomes discolored, making it even more difficult to salvage the PP and turning it reusable for various intended purposes.

 

What’s the Solution?

  • It is recommended to select inks with the correct density, so they stay on the label during the wash process.
  • And do not bleed and mix with the water.

 

Why Using Pressure-Sensitive PP/PE Labels is Detrimental for PPRecycling?

When recycling a PP container, it is important to know how a certain film substrate will behave in contact with water.

Will the adhesive used to secure the label give away and release the label or will it keep the label held on to the container? In other words, will the label sink or float?

Hence, it is here that testing the adhesives to see how they react becomes crucial. Either the adhesive must be well suited to the PP or it should come off hassle-free during the wash process.

If not, and even the slightest traces of the adhesive stay, it will discolor the recycled PP, spoiling the end result.

 

Model Specifications – Shrink Sleeve Labels for PP Bottles

 According to the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), here are the identified characteristics considered compatible with PP recycling –

 Full Compatibility: Sleeves PETG with density >1 g/cm³, and with a size that does not hinder the recognition of the underlying PP-polymer.

Limited Compatibility: Sleeves in PVC, PLA, PS (all with density > 1 g/cm³)

Low Compatibility: Sleeves that hinder the recognition of the PP; Sleeves in non-PP-materials with density < 1 g/cm³; Aluminium/Metalised Sleeves; Heavily inked sleeves

 

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Considering that plastic continues to be frequently used in packaging and requires proper recycling, it is the responsibility of businesses to be conscious about their choices.

The future may see us joining hands with label suppliers who offer recycling-compatible sleeves for their products. But until then, it is on us to do our bit towards a cleaner, safer environment for us and our future generations.

 

Would you like to get an expert opinion on the best recyclable packaging solutions for your products? Then feel free to book a discovery call with me at www.chetan-jain.com.

How Shrink Sleeves Affect Pet Bottle Recycling

Every business that is a part of the packaging industry must know the importance of proper recycling, be it manufacturers, label suppliers, or consumer brands. And considering that a lot of different materials get used to creating products, it is crucial to understand how shrink sleeves affect their overall recyclability.

In this article, we will look at the effects of shrink sleeves when PET bottles and containers are attached to get recycled – along with how to better the recycling process using globally recognized options and alternatives.

Let’s dive in.

Compatibility of PVC, PETG, OPS, and PLA Film Substrate

Research shows shrink-label films made of PVC, PETG, PLA &OPS are incompatible with PET recycling.

For example, if we use PVC shrink label films and recycle the PET containers they are attached to, it causes black speck contamination, making the container non-recyclable.

Similarly, using PETG shrink label film, PLA or OPS shrink sleeves also render the containers incapable of recycling and cause complicated issues.

 

What’s The Solution?

 

  • Before recycling PET bottles and containers, the sleeves attached to them need to be removed so that the films do not interfere with the recycling process.
  • Another option is to use PET-based films. Once crystallized, they recycle along with the bottles to which they are attached.
  • You can also opt for labels and films that leave the PET bottle and stay suspended in the water.

 

Printing Inks

During the wash step of the recycling process, the PET flake gets combined with the hot alkaline water. Usually, the ink used on the label discolors and contaminates it.

 

What’s The Solution?

 

  • As soon as the ink leaves the shrink sleeve label, it must be carefully cleaned and filtered, not only from the PET flakes but also the wash water to avoid damages.
  • With labels that float in the water, using inks with the right density is important to ensure the labels continue to stay afloat without any chances of descending.
  • And that the inks stay on the label.

 

Growing Awareness About the Importance of Proper Recycling

Over the last couple of years, more businesses have become sensitized about finding ways to recycle PET bottles and containers correctly. As well as ensuring that the labels do not interfere or delay their proper recycling.

For example, de-seaming adhesives are making it simpler, easier, and faster to get the label off the container before it gets washed during recycling.

Innovative label films are coming up in the market to create more sophisticated shrink labels. And certain printing ink formulations no longer jeopardize PET’s recyclability.

Machines such as De-Labelers are speeding up the act of detaching labels from PET bottles at the initial stages of recycling. And much more.

So, it is safe to say that in the coming years, more advancement in PET recycling can be expected throughout the world.

 

Model Specifications – Shrink Sleeve Labels on PET Containers

Full Compatibility: Sleeves with density <1 g/cm³, and with a size that does not hinder the recognition of the underlying PET-polymer.; PET (not PETG) sleeves with washable inks.

LIMITED COMPATIBILITY: Twin-perforated sleeves for easy removal.

LOW COMPATIBILITY: Sleeves that hinder the recognition of the underlying PET-polymer (e.g., too large, metalized, heavily inked);

Sleeves with density >1 g/cm³ (e.g.,PVC; PS; PET; PETG); Foamed PETG sleeves (even with density <1 g/cm³);

PETG sleeves with non-washable inks.

 

CLOSING THOUGHTS

As the world moves towards responsible recycling and sustainability, it is the duty of every business in the packaging supply chain to contribute to this endeavor by making the right shift.

There should be a greater focus on sensitizing businesses and consumers about recyclability guidelines and label removal before disposing of PET bottles. And with time, brands should look towards collaborating with label suppliers that offer recycling-compatible sleeves for their products.

A little effort in the right direction can make a big difference.

 

Would you like to get an expert opinion on the best recyclable packaging solutions for your products? Then feel free to book a discovery call with me at www.chetan-jain.com.

Shrink Sleeve Storage and Shelf Life Guidelines You Must Know

Are you using high-quality shrink sleeve labels for your awesome products? You can now count on making your brand and products stand out on shop shelves.

Considering that shrink sleeves are somewhat fragile and delicate packaging materials, it is crucial to understand and follow the best techniques for handling, storing, and transporting shrink sleeves correctly.

After all, the last thing you’d want is for your shrink sleeves to become damaged due to conditions in your control. Right?

Let’s get started.

Common Factors That Influence The Quality of Your Shrink Sleeves

 Several conditions can affect and even compromise the usability of shrink sleeves. These include –

1. Temperature and Heat

Extreme temperatures such as excessively hot or very cold and direct sunlight can distort and damage your shrink sleeves beyond repair. When this happens, the sleeves become unusable, costing you heavily.

Now, with summers here in full swing, proper storage and shipping become extremely important if you want to protect the sleeves from damage and get the best results from them.

Usually, when exposed to temperatures beyond 30°C, shrink sleeves show a tendency to start shrinking. This in turn causes difficulty in sleeving products correctly.

Humidity is another factor having a bearing on the label’s ink and shrink sleeve usability.

BEST PRACTICE: While shrink sleeves are liked for their ability to shrink or expand easily, depending on the application, unwanted shrinkage due to temperature fluctuations need to be avoided.

To do this, shrink sleeves need to be stored and shipped under proper temperature control and ensure swift application to get the intended results.

2. Environmental Pollutants

Before the shrink sleeves get applied to your products, they go through various processes and get handled by several people.

When exposed to dirt and dust particles, shrink sleeves which already has some static charge and attract this dust, lose their sheen and their effectiveness to be applied to your products.

Also, incorrect handling can cause scratches and other forms of damage.

BEST PRACTICE: Handle shrink sleeves with responsibility and care to protect their looks, sheen, and keep the quality intact.

3. Storage

If your shrink sleeves get stored for long periods before the actual application, they are more likely to be exposed to varying problematic conditions like natural shrinkage of the film, or film getting brittle. And this increases their susceptibility to damage.

BEST PRACTICE: Plan your product’s packaging process and avoid overstocking so you won’t have to store your shrink films for longer than required.

Transportation & Storage Tips for Shrink Sleeves

Transportation:

  • It’s best to ship the shrink sleeves in a temperature-controlled delivery vehicle.
  • If quantity not sufficient for a refrigerated vehicle, then during summers, get the sleeves delivered for application overnight or early morning to avoid excessive heat and sun exposure.
  • Ensure there are no damages during transit.

Storage:

  • If there is a gap in the application despite timely delivery, store your shrink sleeves in a temperature-controlled storage facility.
  • If storing an extra reserve of sleeves, ensure the temperature and humidity levels are in check- preferably less than 25°C
  • Avoid storing them for more than 180 days.
  • During summers, store the shrink sleeve labels towards the colder parts of the warehouse, away from sun exposure.
  • Avoid fluctuations in temperature.

 

Shelf Life of Your Shrink Sleeves

Even if you buy the highest-quality shrink packaging for your products, remember, they too have a USE BEFORE date. In other words, you cannot store your labels indefinitely, or they will become unusable.

Hence, speak to your supplier to know the expected shelf life of the sleeves you are ordering and buy only the quantity which you may need since now lower quantities of sleeves can also be printed with ease.

Closing Thoughts

Your investment in good-quality labels is guaranteed to deliver excellent results, provided you and your packaging partner follow the necessary storage, transportation, and handling guidelines.

Would you like an expert opinion on which sleeves are best for your products, how to buy an optimum quantity of sleeves with ease, and how to make sure their quality remains intact from label delivery to its application?

 Feel free to book a discovery call with me at www.chetan-jain.com, and I will be happy to assist you.

7 THINGS TO REMEMBER WHILE CREATING ARTWORK FOR SHRINK SLEEVES

Shrink Sleeves are packaging-industry favourites, thanks to their ability to take on varied packaging shapes and dimensions with ease. Add a well-designed and eye-catching artwork, and you’re all set to promote and maximize your brand’s recognition.

However, before you finalize your shrink sleeve artwork, keep in mind these seven tips for an excellent packaging and branding experience –

1. CHECK FOR DISTORTION IN HIGH SHRINK AREAS
Since a shrink sleeve has to take the shape of its container, think about the container’s shape and identify those parts of the sleeve which will experience maximum shrinkage. As a rule of thumb, avoid putting complex imagery in high shrink areas. These include parts of the sleeve that will wrap around the narrow or curved edges of your container since these may appear warped or disfigured while adjusting to the container’s shape.

2. AVOID ADDING TEXT AND GRAPHICS NEAR THE SEAMING AREAS
A good way to ensure your shrink sleeve looks as good as you hoped it would upon printing is to refrain from placing words or images in the seamed areas while designing your artwork. Since these are the areas that get folded and overlapped during the actual application, keep these areas text and image-free.

3. PREPARE FOR SHRINKAGE: KEEP TEXT, LOGOS BIGGER
Each element of your shrink sleeve artwork should be slightly larger to account for the expected shrinkage that will take place once it is applied to a container. Meaning, your artwork’s logo, text and images must be bigger than the actual sizes you wish to display on your packaging, to your customers.

4. USE A 360° DESIGN APPROACH
The great thing about shrink sleeves is that they offer a 360-degree design coverage area that you can use to display your artwork and attract the attention of your customers. You have the freedom to tell a distinctive and engrossing story that your customers will enjoy reading as they place your product in their shopping cart!

5. PAY ATTENTION TO THE BARCODE ORIENTATION
Don’t forget that as the shrink sleeve shrinks, the barcode printed on it will shrink too and result in scanning issues at the retail stores. Hence, display your barcode vertically as it will still be readable after the expected shrinkage.

6. CHECK SENSOR MARKS AND FOLDING EDGES
Especially in the case of roll form, it is imperative to check if the artwork requires a sensor mark or a transparent area for it to work on the Auto Applicator. The folding edge of shrink sleeves should match with the parting lines or edges of the containers to achieve perfectly aligned shrink sleeves. Ensure there is sufficient folding margin for seaming, or the converter may end up in misaligned shrink sleeves.

7. PROPER KLD FOR CORRECT PANELLING AND EASE OF SLEEVING
The correct alignment of all panels is critical to achieving perfectly oriented shrink sleeves. So, make sure to know the FOP (front of panel), BOP (back of panel) and SOP (side of panel), especially for asymmetric containers and those that are not exactly round.

Lastly, I would recommend a useful tip- to check the post shrink distortion in ARC view as well as getting few commercial worthy mockups- DigiSleeves. If you have any queries regarding this, you may contact us to know more.

Now that you know the essentials of a good shrink sleeve artwork design, it is time to start creating exceptional artwork for your products!

Written By
Chetan Jain
Author | Packaging and Shrink sleeve Expert | Entrepreneur

SHRINK SLEEVES LABELS MARKET – GROWTH AND TRENDS

The shrink sleeves market in the Asia Pacific region was valued at USD 10.37 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 15.55 billion by 2025. In the last two decades, the shrink sleeves market has grown remarkably. The colorful wrap around containers makes the product look more beautiful and attractive. As Shrink Sleeves are rocking in the packaging industry, there are many trends that will be taking place in the packaging industry in the future.

– Providing the extra benefit of the versatility of conveying brand and safety messaging for packaging designers and brand owners, shrink sleeve is preferred over conventional labels.

– 360-degree coverage allows packaging professionals to create eye-catching designs and full space that allows them to convey the brand’s message effectively to the current customers and prospective customers.

– With tight labeling regulations for both food and pharmaceutical products in place or on the way, having extra space to conform to regulatory standards while maintaining a product’s ability to reach out to consumers is expected to heighten the importance of sleeve labels.

– The flexibility of Shrink Sleeves is also attracting the Packaging designers to use it for their products as shrink sleeves can take any shape and size very easily along with giving a beautiful look to the product.

– Shrink Sleeves allow product-makers to utilize a single colorless container and differentiate products and lines with their labels.

Shrink sleeves have emerged as one of the biggest boons in the packaging industry with their ease of use and application for the packaging designers and developers. The customer interaction and flexibility of shrink sleeves will be the reason for the increase in the use of Shrink Sleeves in the upcoming years.

Introducing new cutting-edge machines at Taurus- Bigger, Better & Faster

Taurus Packaging Makes History with the Installation of India’s First-Ever Fully Dedicated In-Line Bobst Hardware for Shrink Sleeves.

We are pleased to announce the virtual inauguration of two of the most cutting-edge hardware up-gradations at Taurus, the 9-colour Bobst M5 Flexographic Machine and 10-colour Pelican Rotogravure Printing Machine.

The Bobst Press is the first and only in-line machine in India dedicated completely for manufacturing shrink sleeves.

What’s more, the new Rotogravure with highly advanced customisations and is one-of-its-kind 10-Colour Pelican ever built for creating versatile and durable shrink sleeves.

With these latest additions, we are now producing both, the smallest and the largest order volumes in shrink sleeves across India and honouring diverse order quantities with ease.

These machines are successfully churning out never-seen-before and perhaps never-heard-before innovations for shrink sleeve customers, making them an important cog in our ground-breaking H.I.P. Framework.

Even though we could not plan a bigger launch due to the ongoing situation, this is a milestone day for us. We are bigger, faster and we just made shrink sleeves a lot better.

Taurus Packaging is now India’s largest shrink sleeve manufacturer and we are already creating the records for the fastest time-to-market deliveries for shrink sleeves.

On this happy occasion, I would like to thank our valued customers and clients for always showing tremendous trust and faith in us. Your unwavering support that motivates us to always strive towards excellence.

We can’t wait for you to experience the amazing benefits of these new installations. To discuss the possibilities and for more details, do get in touch!

PVC or PETG: Breaking the Myths

PVC Shrink Films have ruled the Indian packaging industry for the longest time. However, due to many issues associated with PVC, a need was felt to find an alternative material that could potentially replace PVC and become the superior choice.

Several different polymers were introduced and tested in the market but saw little success. Finally, PET-G was born, with the hope that the packaging industry had found the best shrink sleeve, till date.

However, some questions remain unanswered:
Is it practical and even possible to replace PVC altogether?
Is PVC truly all bad and PET-G all good?
Can PETG Shrink Films offer the same quality and finish as PVC Shrink Films?
Do companies have the resources, know-how and infrastructure to use PET-G packaging
material for all types, shapes and sizes of containers?

Through this article, I aim to break through some common myths about PVC and PET-G and provide an objective and practical understanding of both materials; their uses, benefits and pitfalls so you can make the correct choice for your business. Let’s get started!

WHAT IS PVC?
Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC is one of the most adaptable and extensively used synthetic plastic polymers or shrink film that contains 57% chlorine and 43% carbon. PVC is made in bulk  domestically, which is why it is readily accessible. PVC Shrink films are known as RIGID PVC films. They are free from plasticizers (phthalates) and eliminate the issues of chemical leaching.

PVC SHRINK FILM USES
Shrink films made of PVC are most commonly used in all kinds of shrink tunnels and container materials, especially HDPE containers for cosmetics and food products. Being a full-bodied shrink sleeve, PVC offers additional space as well as several practical benefits when it comes to designing the best packaging for your products.

BENEFITS OF PVC SHRINK FILMS
PVC shrink films aid in communicating crucial product-specific details to the end-user as specified by the regulatory bodies.

When attached to container caps, PVC shrink films provide a tamper-proof seal that protects the contents from adulteration and reduces chances of malpractice.

These films make life easier by providing a holistic design view of pre-formed film bands, specially manufactured to fit specific shapes of containers. With a 360° view easily available, there is no requirement for a custom-made design.

WHAT IS PETG?
Popularly referred to as PETG or PET-G, Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol is a kind of thermoplastic polyester celebrated for its superb pliability. PET-G is exceptionally long-lasting and resistant to chemicals, making it a great choice for various production processes.

PETG SHRINK FILMS & THE DEBATE AGAINST PVC
As mentioned earlier, Shrink PETG was created as an alternative to PVC due to two main problems –

LOW SHRINKAGE: PVC has only up to 50-60% TD shrinkage which can cause a flowering effect when packaging certain shapes of bottles. PETG offers a much higher shrinkage percentage, between 70-80%, making it a smarter choice.

THREATS TO THE ENVIRONMENT: When PVC is not disposed off correctly and dumped into garbage landfills or burnt, it releases dangerous carcinogenic gases and dioxin due to its chlorine content. These pose serious environmental and health concerns for years to come.

Hence, PVC is considered the most ‘TROUBLED’ plastic material in use today.

IS PETG THE BETTER ALTERNATIVE TO PVC? BREAKING THE MYTHS
1. Printed PVC waste is easily recyclable with multiple applications such as pipes, window frames, cable insulation, floors coverings, roofing sheets etc. Printed PET-G waste is difficult to recycle and does not have many applications. Most of it has to be incinerated completely.

TAKEAWAY: If PVC is collected and disposed of properly, it can return high value to companies that recycle PVC scrap.

2. PETG is Non-Chlorinated but doesn’t work well as a shrink film with few container materials.

TAKEAWAY: All types of PVC sleeves cannot be easily replaced by PETG. Hence, PETG is not the perfect solution or replacement for PVC as it is usually considered to be.

3. Shrinking PETG is a complicated process, especially if you have access to non-sophisticated shrink tunnel infrastructure.

TAKEAWAY: Shifting to PETG Shrink Sleeves is not easy and may require you to make heavy additional investments.

4. There is widespread production of Shrink PVC in India. Whereas PET-G is either imported or made only by few bigger film makers.

TAKEAWAY: Shifting from PVC to PETG can negatively impact the local and domestic economy.

5. The need for specialized steam tunnels and in some cases, multi-stage hot air tunnels to correctly sleeve PET-G shrink films makes it an expensive and some what unpopular choice. Even with the most advanced infrastructure, there may be limitations in performance of PET-G, as compared to PVC.

Often, when using PETG in hot air tunnels, the HDPE or PP container expands before the time the sleeve is shrunk onto the container. After the container returns to normal temperature and its normal size, air pockets get formed between the sleeve and the container wall.

In sharp contrast, PVC is flexible and adapts to the container’s shape even with a basic hot air tunnel. It delivers great results and reduces reprocessing or rejection.

TAKEAWAY: PVC shrink films are painless to shrink on most containers compared to a

PET-G shrink film. They are also energy-efficient and cost-effective choices that get the job done quickly.

6. Most Indian small-medium enterprises have access to basic shrink tunnels for application of PVC shrink sleeves. Moving to other materials means these companies must invest heavily in more sophisticated technology and infrastructure, not easily available.

TAKEAWAY: PVC shrink films are obvious and sometimes the only possible choice.

7. When using PETG for labelling containers with thin walls or pre-labelling containers that is empty, it is crucial to maintain just the right shrink conditions. Otherwise, there may be major distortions in the label and the container.

TAKEAWAY: PETG’s shrink force is on the higher side that can lead to contortions.

CAN PET-G REPLACE PVC?
PET-G has various benefits including a higher shrinkage, durability and resistance to chemicals. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best contenders as a shrink sleeve choice for packaging needs. However, now that there is a major shift towards PETG, another problem has raised its head, one that we cannot ignore.

RECYCLING MIXED WASTE
The waste reaching our landfills is a mixture of PVC and PETG. Even though PVC can be easily recycled, PETG waste cannot be, and this reduces its usefulness to companies who deal with recycling. Segregating the PVC and PETG waste is even more difficult. Burning PVC is harmful but burning PETG isn’t good or useful either.

So does PETG have the capability to completely replace the demand for PVC in India – considering that it does not work well in all situations, can lead to distortions and may require a higher level of investment on technology and infrastructure? Only time will  tell.

OTHER ALTERNATIVES TO PVC AND PETG
OPS (Oriented Polystyrene): Created in Japan, OPS offers the same flexibility as PVC but costs much more since it is an imported product and requires constant refrigeration. It is a preferred choice for companies who don’t want to use PVC or looking for more superior performance than that offered by PETG films.

LD-PET (Low-Density Polyethylene Terephthalate): LD-PET costs less than OPS
while offering the same level of versatility. The yield is higher than PETG and PVC and
has a density of 1.1 with lower utilization of plastic. LD-PET performance has been
observed to be at par with PVC.

NEXT PETG: This is an advanced PETG created to function well on HDPE/PP containers in hot air tunnels without creating undesirable air pockets. It has got better performace than regular PETG. To ensure perfect performance, NEXT PETG should undergo trials in varying weather conditions.

ROSO (Roll on Sleeve): ROSO is a PP-based shrink film that is roll-fed. Its shrinkage ratio is limited and can only be used in certain conditions.

PLA (Polylactic Acid): This shrink film is completely free from plastic but not widely used since it is costly. It is made from sugarcane or corn starch and is 100% biodegradable.

COC (Cyclic Olefin Copolymer): This is a Polyolefin-based shrink sleeve. The differentiating factor is its lower than density of 1 and is usually ideal for shrink sleeves with a density of 1+ for easy segregation during recycling by floatation method.

However, it is not easily available and the cost is higher too.

CONCLUSION:
Clearly, it is too soon to conclude which shrink sleeve option is the best or which one ranks higher over the other. However, the need of the hour is to understand the problems that exist.

I am hopeful that sooner or later, our Government, as well as our packaging scientists, will find the most workable solutions that protect our environment and support the ever-changing and evolving needs of the packaging industry.

But till then, it is crucial for all of us to SEGREGATE, DISPOSE OF, COLLECT AND RECYCLE WELL. Remember, plastic is not the Problem, its disposal is.

What are your thoughts on the PVC and PET-G debate? Tell me about it in the comment section below.

For more information on shrink sleeves, feel free to reach out to me, and I will be happy to answer your questions or gather the right information you require.

Go Small – Importance of Short-Runs

Do you see a regular tiff with your printer over the MOQ’s? Printers refuse to accept lower quantity printing due to certain limitations. This is true. The traditional rotogravure printing method has limitations. There are a certain setup time and wastage to match colours. This time, wastage, low productivity comes at a cost that is then passed on to the customers. Additionally, high cylinder cost for low volumes certainly doesn’t help.

But imagine if you have a pilot launch, or want to test market a product or have multiple low volume SKUs, and you are stuck with the situation of buying high volumes and pay up for cylinders cost!
Shrink sleeve industry has been coping with this volume requirements or end up using the other labeling alternatives. This compromise has been a bottleneck for too long.

Solution
Introduction of Hybrid Sleeves using the H.I.P. Framework has changed the way you buy sleeves at any volumes. Yes, you read it right. Be it 100 sleeves or 10,000 sleeves. You can get it at a very optimum cost and that too without investing in the expensive cylinders. This saves so much of additional inventory, and MOQ tussle.

Advantages of Low Volumes
• Test market your product in a smaller market before bigger launch
• Small batch allows freedom to make changes in design for next purchase as per market and sales’ feedback
• Shrink sleeve comes with a shelf life. Don’t keep inventory more than your requirement
• You can develop more SKUs and variants without worrying about high inventory

This is how short-runs can help you to save your time and cost along with resulting in the creation of the quality products.

H.I.P. Framework is the future of shrink sleeves.