UPM Raflatac is reportedly the first company in the world to invest in Ocean Bound Plastics (OBP) waste as label raw material in their new Ocean Action labels. The Ocean Action labels are made from ocean bound plastic using mass balance approach. Ocean bound plastic is abandoned plastic waste recovered from areas up to 50km inland from waterways, defined as “at risk of ending up in the ocean” by OBPCert. The new label material is made possible by close collaboration with multiple partners in the product’s value chain.
The world desperately needs more sustainable and commercially viable ways to recycle post-consumer plastic, according to the company. The United Nations has recognized the need to recycle more post-consumer plastic and launched a new plastic pollution treaty in 2021.
OBPCert has estimated that ocean bound plastic generates 80 percent of plastic marine litter. Today, only around 10 percent of plastic waste globally gets recycled, while the rest ends up at landfills, in incineration, and leakage to nature or oceans. One solution to this problem lies in creating markets for products made from ocean bound plastic.
”The new innovative Ocean Action label material is the latest step in our beyond fossils journey,” said Eliisa Laurikainen, Business Development Manager from UPM Raflatac. “It does not only help prevent the plastic waste from ending up in the oceans but also offers brand owners the possibility to meet their recycled content targets for packaging. The Ocean Action label material is an easy-to-use drop-in solution created especially for food and cosmetics end-uses as it has exactly the same performance as the current fossil-based labels.”
The Ocean Action label material is available as White and Clear Top Coated PP films with RP37, RF37, and RP74 adhesives and PET 23 PCR and glassine liners.
To make Ocean Action label a commercially successful product, UPM Raflatac has collaborated closely with multiple partners in the value chain. The collaboration is necessary to make circular economy a reality. At first stage HHI, a Malaysian-based plastic recycling company collects and sorts the ocean bound plastic waste with its partners. HHI has Ocean Bound Plastics certification under Zero Plastic Oceans program that ensures the responsible sourcing, proper collection and management of the ocean bound plastic waste.
After collecting and sorting the ocean bound plastic waste, HHI uses chemical recycling to convert the waste into pyrolysis oil. The pyrolysis oil is then used by SABIC to create high-quality PP plastic granulates.
After SABIC, the plastic granulates are used in the process in which the film manufacturer Taghleef Industries produces the label film that is used to produce the final label material by UPM Raflatac.
The plastic waste used in the value chain of making Ocean Action label material is certified under the Zero Plastics Oceans program, and the final label material under ISCC PLUS.
The label material is produced using sustainable recycled feedstock, replacing the equivalent amount of virgin fossil resources used in the production process, using a mass balance approach, accounting for the amount of sustainable resources. These verify that the Ocean Action label material is traceable and sustainably sourced.