Your Questions on Sustainability and Recycling – Our Responses
Can packaging and plastic products finished with a KURZ transfer decoration be recycled? Are there material combinations in KURZ transfer products which influence recyclability? What constitutes a sustainable value chain for our decorated products? We won't leave you guessing about questions like these.
As long ago as the 1970s, sustainability was already close to the heart of Leonhard Kurz, a family business. Long before regulations stipulated clean-up of contaminated air, our plants boasted modern air pollution control equipment. Highly polluting substances were banned from KURZ decoration materials five decades ago. Since its founding in 1899, Leonhard Kurz has put a premium on protecting our employees, customers, and the world.
We have long been concerned with sustainability. To us, design and recyclability are not contradictory – quite the contrary. We not only provide advice on our transfer products; we also support you in improving your recycling path, in harmonizing testing methods, and in rethinking sustainability concepts.
Put our expertise to work for you on issues of Sustainability and Recycling.
The recyclability of your product is linked to two conditions: There must exist sorting and recycling structures for the product; and it must be possible to manufacture new products, identical in their materials, from the original product (in its entirety or in parts). These goals pose challenges at many levels. But you won't tackle them alone. If you wish, we will accompany you from the start. Together we will ensure the recyclability of your product along the entire value chain. Not only will you support the ecosystem, you will acquire a competitive edge.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is the substrate a plastic, paper, cardboard, glass or metal material suited to recycling?
- Can an industrial recycling facility recognize the packaging?
- Is there a recycling path for the material collected?
If you would also like to know how the grade of your recyclate stacks up, the RecyClass and the US association APR have developed test logs for different materials. Speak to us if you would like to know more. KURZ has been dedicated to the RecyClass initiative for many years. You will soon even be able to calculate, using a formula, the recyclability, or 'recyclability rate', of your packaging. We are currently working on this with RecyClass, and you will notice a major improvement and streamlining of your process with this initiative.
During packaging design, you can already set the course for the recyclability of your product. We support you with our know-how, even in this first phase – for instance in packaging and label design, material selection, and the use of colors and adhesives. The European initiative RecyClass and the U.S. association APR have developed online tools to help you implement the rules of Design for Recycling (DfR). Find out more about the DfR guidelines here: DIN EN 13430, RECOUP, CHI, EPBP, Citeo, SUEZ. As a member of RecyClass we are working to make the rules even more relevant and uniform.
We have tested whether the sensors of a recycling sorting facility recognize KURZ decoration products like LUXOR®/ALUFIN®. The result: 80% to 90% of hot stamping, cold and digital transfer samples (surface decoration between 3% and 100% coverage) were able to be positively sorted as graphic paper for deinking and recycling. We had the international research foundation Deinking-Technik e.V., INGEDE test the effectiveness of deinking. Earning up to 100 points, KURZ transfer finishes achieved outstanding results, exceeding a good score by far – INGEDE consider that an acceptable level is a total of 70 points or more. Find out more about the test results from our press release on the deinking test.
Surface finishes should not interfere with the sorting process. We have examined whether sorting facilities using NIR technology (Near InfraRed), recognize consumer goods with KURZ coatings. The result: Our decorations, for instance on primary cosmetics packaging, will have you in the safe zone. The KURZ transfer process can decorate up to 70% of the surface of your product, making it easy to recognize by sorting facilities. Please note that plastics pigmented black with soot are not recognized by NIR sorting systems.
Products coated with metallized transfer finishing from KURZ do not interfere with the recycling process per se. But since other product superstructures like laminates with overly extensive surface coverage would interfere with the recycling process, there is an upstream sorting process with sensors to sort out products with a metallized surface coverage of 70%. The ultra-thin coating applied with KURZ transfer finishing is another ace in the hole for your safe and secure recycling.
In general, you should avoid combinations of materials (e.g. multilayer or water-soluble adhesives in combination with wet strength labels in Polypropylene). KURZ is dedicated to the European initiative RecyClass. Within a working group we are researching how to improve the recycling properties of labels and their adhesives.
The situation for laminates is complex – they are not expressly prohibited, but complicate recycling. What is true for laminates on paper and cardboard packaging is that lamination with metallized plastic foils is difficult to separate from the substrate in the recycling process. And if you want to laminate plastics, it is important to know that in each individual case the specific laminate must be tested for its influence on the recycling process and on the quality of the recyclate. Since lamination interferes with the recyclability of your product and its packaging, other processes are recommended.
We are glad to assist you in selecting sustainable surface finishes that both meet high demands for design and function, while ensuring that your product stays recyclable in its totality.
Because it has proven itself in so many applications, the transfer decoration LUXOR® is especially popular with our customers. When it comes to sustainability, we are proud that our finishes also meet the highest demands: In 2019 DIN CERTCO certified the hot stamping grade LUXOR® MTS 220 under DIN EN 13432. The decoration is considered an additive that does not interfere with the composting process if you apply no more than one percent by weight to the substrate
Thanks to KURZ's extremely thin transfer layers, this is now possible in almost all applications we know of.
Important: Your cardboard packaging must be compostable to close your product cycle.
Follow our campaign #beagreenleader on social media. In short videos, our specialists explain how you reap the benefits of the sustainability of KURZ products.