New label stock for enhanced recycling: keeping boxes in the loop for longer


CATEGORY: Circular Economy BRAND: Herma

With its new adhesives, HERMA is thought to be the first company in the industry to offer label stock that is optimised to support the recycling of cardboard shipping boxes.

Cardboard boxes can be recycled as many as 25 times if the recycling processes are appropriately configured. HERMA is now offering self-adhesive label materials developed specifically for this purpose. (Photo: iStock / scanrail)


Provided that the recycling processes are appropriately configured, shipping and other folding boxes can be recycled not just 4 to 7 times, but as many as 25 times. This was the conclusion of a study undertaken in 2021 by the University of Graz in Austria. With a view to optimising the recycling of board and paper, HERMA has responded to this finding by developing a new range of adhesives and corresponding self-adhesive materials. The distinguishing feature of the logistics and other labels produced with the new label stock is that contamination caused by the adhesive during recycling is practically ruled out. HERMA has now successfully completed the certification procedure of the research institute PTS for five self-adhesive materials – label materials including the adhesive. The only condition imposed by the PTS certificates is that the mass of the label stock cannot exceed 25 percent of the total mass of the box. “In view of the light weight of a label, compared to the weight of the box to which it is applied, this condition will most likely be satisfied in every instance,” says Dr. Stefan Kissling, who oversees the development of adhesives and special coatings in HERMA’s Self-adhesive Materials division. “It was important for us to obtain certification not only for the adhesives, but also for the finished materials – the label stock. This end-to-end certification best reflects the products’ practical application. To our knowledge, HERMA is currently the only company in the industry to offer label stock certified in this way.” For three of the four new adhesives, the multi-layer technology pioneered by HERMA held the key to success.


Four new adhesives for five new self-adhesive materials

The new adhesive 72Bpt is being used in combination with two light-weight coated papers, namely HERMAwhite super (grade 240) and HERMAextracoat (grade 242). Each of these variants is characterised by good initial tack and is therefore ideal for labelling cardboard boxes. For laser labels on sheets, as frequently used in shipping applications, HERMA has developed label stock consisting of the new adhesive 72Apc and HERMAlaser sheet (grade 135). For optimising the recycling of board and paper, HERMA is now offering a solution, likewise certified by PTS, in the thermal label segment as well. It is a self-adhesive material that combines the new adhesive 72Eps with HERMAtherm nature (grade 900) and is the first of its kind to dispense with chemical developers. Type 72Eps also shows good adhesion even at low temperatures and is suitable for use with very fast labelling lines as well. The fifth of the PTS-certified materials is a universal variant for diverse applications consisting of the new single-layer adhesive 72C and the label material HERMAwhite (grade 601). Its glazed surface gives rise to excellent print quality with conventional printing methods. It is also highly compatible with both laser and thermal transfer printing. “Our five new PTS-certified self-adhesive materials cover practically every application that arises in the cardboard and folding box labelling segment,” comments Dr. Stefan Kissling. “Label printers and users are sure to find a suitable solution, no matter what the task, that will enable them to achieve further improvements in box recycling and thus the closed-loop material cycle.”


Located in Filderstadt near Stuttgart (Germany), HERMA is a leading European specialist in product and package labelling. In the 2021 fiscal year the HERMA Group generated sales of around €428.4 million in its three divisions with more than 1,100 employees.

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