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2019 SPC Innovator Award: Innovation in Recovery finalist

Colgate Palmolive: Recyclability Upgrades for Palmolive Oxy

Colgate Palmolive overhauled the full body shrink sleeve while retaining their preferred means of decoration on the PET bottle for Palmolive Oxy dish soap. The new shrink sleeve is a crystalized PET label manufactured by SKC and converted by Fort Dearborn, featuring washable inks. Each supply chain partner has successfully passed the appropriate Association of Plastic Recyclers critical guidance tests.

Why it’s important:

Conventional full body shrink sleeves are one of the most common and harmful disruptors to the PET recycling stream. Since most full body shrink sleeves are made of non-PET resins, they can cause a PET bottle to be misidentified by an optical sorter, and if the bottle does make it a PET reclaimer, the label material can persist throughout the reclamation process as a contaminant. Colgate Palmolive and their supply chain partners have addressed these issues by using cPET as the label substrate and using special inks that will be removed in the customary washing process, leaving behind an uncolored cPET label that can be reclaimed alongside the bottle. Remarkably, these improvements have been accomplished without any sacrifice to the branding and marketing characteristics provided by full body shrink sleeves, providing a true win-win.

Original submission

“Commercialization of Palmolive Oxy Dishwash Bottles with a Recyclable Shrink Sleeve and Washable Ink”

What impact on sustainable packaging has this submission made?

This technology is to address shrink sleeve’s negative impact on PET bottle recycling. It is known that shrink sleeves are the preferred means to decorate many beverage, food and CPG products due to their remarkable visual appearance. Since their emergence in 2010, shrink sleeves have gained increased share in the label market. However, the issues associated with shrink sleeves in regard to PET bottle recycling are also well recognized – they may confuse the optical sorters, discolor and/or clump the PET flakes and cause challenges to PET recycling. Colgate’s commercialization of the Palmolive OXY dishwash package addresses these concerns. It uses a crystallized PET copolymer shrink sleeve (SKC EcolabelTM ), converted and printed (by Fort Dearborn) with washable inks, mainly in transparent blue color. This produces a shrink sleeve that will ensure the PET bottle goes into the correct recycling stream (no mis-identification by optical sorters), it will not contaminate the PET flakes because the inks can be washed off the shrink sleeves during the caustic washing process and separated from the sleeve material /PET flakes, nor does it does cause clumping of PET flakes because the EcolabelTM sleeve material is compatible with PET and has the same melting temperature as that of PET. In addition, this technology enables shrink sleeve labels to be recycled with the PET bottles to increase the recycled material, which is a unique feature that other shrink sleeve technologies do not have.

Colgate, SKC and Fort Dearborn respectively did APR critical guidance tests and passed.

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