As with most things in the custom printing and packaging business, there is no simple answer to this question. The Best Eco-Friendly Label depends on many things including the package it is adhered to, the durability requirements, and the end of life use of the package. There isn’t just one Best Eco-Friendly Label for all cases.
The Container Matters – A Lot!
More than 10 years ago, when I was Chairman of TLMI – the leading label association in North America, I wrote a letter to our members opposing a ban on certain adhesives proposed by the State of Wisconsin. The association and I opposed this blanket approach because it didn’t consider all the different types of containers we label – glass, aluminum, paper and more. When possible, it is ideal to match the container material to the label material. This works well with a PET label on a PET bottle. Or a paper label on a paper envelope or box. But on glass bottles and aluminum cans, this is much more problematic.
Special Case – OBRC Beer Bottles
In some cases, we are lucky enough to have an industry that joins forces to create a solution. In the case of the Oregon Craft Beer industry, they joined with the distributor-funded bottle collection system and created a specific bottle that is reusable. This thick-walled 500ml beer bottle is ‘rented’ by the brewer and recovered, washed, and returned to circulation. This program is still in its infancy, but it has great promise. We are proud to be one of the few approved label vendors that can provide compatible labels. In this case, we spent months researching a compatible adhesive and label stock that would hold up in a cold, wet cooler but still wash off cleanly to allow the bottle to be reused. It is a great program, but not every industry has access to it.
RCA – Recycle Compatible Adhesives
Another term thrown around often has to do with adhesives. This stems from the Wisconsin project mentioned above, but it ONLY applies to paper on paper recycling. Think about Avery-type address labels and stamps on a letter. When unclaimed mail is recycled, this RCA adhesive allows the labels and stamps to separate from envelopes in the recycle process without too much ‘gunk’ clogging up the re-pulping machines. These adhesives are very important, but are really geared toward paper on paper applications (they are better than most, but still not a full solution).
The CURRENT Best Eco-Friendly Label
This industry moves FAST. Things are changing all the time, but as of this publication, our best product is from Avery Dennison. Labels have three parts, and all three parts of this label contribute to its overall environmental footprint:
Besides the material your labels are made from, the COMPANY making them needs to be a good environmental partner. They need to be honest and fair with employees and customers – and they need to walk the sustainability walk in their own operations. Rose City Label shines in this area. Our recent SGP Certification was reported in the trade press around the world. And our 2018 Environmental Leadership award was a very nice recognition by our peers that we are committed to being a good corporate citizen.
We Can help with Best Eco-Friendly Labels
This information changes rapidly. New products come into the market on a weekly basis. If you have questions, call us today. We are here to help.
The baseline reason for picking a label printer is that they can print excellent, high quality labels for you. If your brand doesn’t shine on the retail shelf, the the conversation goes no further. With flexo, HP Indigo digital printing, and foil stamping and embossing, print quality is a great reason to choose Rose City Label
Flexible and Hungry
Our business has doubled in the past 10 years and we have made great investment in new equipment. Still, we are a small, scrappy company. We are a 92 year old brick and mortar company with a start-up mentality. If you buy the kind of labels we make well, we want your business! Choose Rose City Label for our flexibility and willingness to work for your business. Special delivery times? Specific packaging? Run and hold programs? Rose City Label can offer all those and more.
We are still locally owned and operated. We are a family business first and foremost. Many of our employees have relatives in the business and that makes us a family not just a business. Our roots are deep and this long-term perspective helps us do the right things for our customers.
Call Us Today!
For all the reasons listed above, people choose Rose City Label more and more each week. Our customer list continues to grow and we are very thankful for that. Want to learn more? Call us today at 503-777-4711.
The soil and the climate of a particular region can be critical to successfully growing excellent wine grapes. Winemaking can enhance the end product, but as with any product, starting with the best possible fruit is critical to making an excellent wine. This is why having the right grapes from the right AVA is critical.
The AVA as a source of pride
The Gold Medal wine club says this, AVA stands for American Viticultural Area – “a designated wine grape growing region in the United States that is distinguishable by its geography”. They go on to describe many things about the history of AVAs in America, including the fact that the first one was designated in July 1980 as our American Wines became prominent in the world market. Read their great post about AVAs by clicking here. The AVA where your wine grapes are grown should be a source of pride – rooting for the home team. Hopefully you and other growers in your region are working hard to control what you can and working in harmony with mother nature to make the best possible fruit in each vintage.
TTB Map of AVAs – check it out!
The US Government ultimately decides what will be considered a recognized AVA or sub-AVA. Their is a rigorous process to get your particular area or region recognized – kind of like getting your home on the historic register in a particular city. This cool interactive map lets you see all the AVAs in your region – or any region in the United States.
Not only are the AVA designations very important to the quality of your harvest and value of your land, they are also important for marketing. If your grapes come from a coveted AVA, it would be foolish NOT to include that in your label – and if you include the wrong AVA, you could be in for legal trouble. If you need legal help in this area, we can refer you to great people to help in this area.
We print for nearly 100 wineries each year and that number keeps growing. Our team has the experience and tools to make a great wine label for you, and we back the labels up with a commitment to quality. Call us today!
Nearly all the labels we produce are die cut to a specific shape. Some are simple rectangles, but many are custom shapes. Regardless of the specific shape nearly all our labels to through the process of high speed rotary die cutting before they get to the customer.
Engraved Dies for Long Life
Many of our labels use very flexible, in expensive magnetic dies now. Our off line die cutter used for digital production uses only magnetic dies. Check out the video of this machine here. Even with this rapid growth, engraved (solid) dies are still very popular and useful on our longer run flexographic label presses.
Across and Around
Because the die image is engraved on the rotary tool, we can’t change the orientation on press. The die can only run in one direction on the roll. Once the label is removed from the backing, you can turn it any direction for hand application, but if you are machine applying your labels, then the run direction is critical. Nobody wants labels upside down on their bottle! For clarity, we always refer to the ACROSS and AROUND dimension on a roll label. This image shows the difference, so please be sure your labels are oriented the correct way.
Call Us Today – We Can Help
With 90 years in business and millions of labels printed, we have thousands of cutting dies to choose from. Sometimes (but not often) we have the same label size running in multiple directions on the roll. If the roll unwind is important to you, please clarify that up front before you design your labels to fit a particular cutting die.
Many of our wine customers use a mobile bottling service like Signature or Casteel. Mobile bottlers are economical for many reasons, including inline label application. This video shows labels being applied on a Signature bottling line. Because of the speed and cost of these bottling lines, nobody wants down time. One of the things that can kill productivity is having to stop to change a label roll. Therefore, everyone wants rolls as large as possible – often up to 12-14″ in diameter.
Filling the Press Web is Cost Effective
The problem comes with our customers that do many small batches of wine. Some have 3-5 different blocks of grapes that each go into a specific, very special wine. If you only produce 50 cases of something, the label roll will never be very big – but it gets even worse! We try to be as cost effective as possible so we fill the press web (13″ wide paper in the press).
This image of a label in productions shows that we are running the label 3-across the web to save time and money for the customer. The press web is filled, allowing us to print 3 labels at a time. The problem, however, is that this results in even smaller rolls on the bottling line. If you print 900 labels (60 cases of a specialty wine), you will end up with 3 rolls of 300 each and a nightmare on the bottling line.
Wasting Material is Bad for Everyone
Not only does filling the web make the job more cost effective, it also saves the earth by wasting less paper. On our state of the art digital printing press, the machine requires a full 13″ web, regardless of the finished label size. This means if we want to print only one label across the web, we use 3x the paper for the run! And 3x the press time to get the job done. This is wasteful but also more expensive for the customer.
Splices are Bad, too!
Another (bad) option is splicing the three small rolls together. A splice is basically just taping three rolls together. This is bad because these splices frequently break on the bottling line due to high tension on the rolls. And, this also opens the option for a very big problem – accidentally splicing two different items onto the same roll! For these reasons, we don’t recommend splicing these small rolls.
Total Applied Cost
The label job isn’t really done until the label is on the bottle, in the retail store, and sold to a consumer. The cost of packaging is very complicated and much more than just the individual label price. The total applied cost – the final cost of the label on the bottle – is what really matters. For this reason, we have some very specific recommendations for small batch wineries.
You Decide – Our recommendation
Ultimately, the customer decides what is best for their particular situation. But, based on our 92 years of label experience, we strongly suggest you pay a bit more to get full sized rolls, without splices, to maximize your up time on the bottling line. This doesn’t apply to hand applied labels – only machine applied items on a high speed bottling line. Nobody likes to pay extra for labels, or to waste material, but for us, paying a bit more for the label is worth it to keep your total applied cost down.
Questions? Please call us today at 503-777-4711. We look forward to printing for you again very soon!