What is the Best Eco-Friendly Label?
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:
- Label Paper – 100% PCW and FSC Certified
- Adhesive – AT20N – complies with RCA standard
- PET backing – most recycle friendly backing paper
These are all attributes that make this the current best eco-friendly label material. Read about the label stock specification here. Read the RCA compatibility certification. For more details about the material, please give us a call directly.
The Company Matters, too!
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.
Excellent Print Quality
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.
Best People in the Business
Everyone knows a business is built on the quality of its people. We are too. But more than just talking about great people, we factually and actually have the most experienced crew in the market. With many over 20 years and two people over 30 years with Rose City Label, we have a very experienced and dedicated crew. They even come in on emergency weekends to delivery labels 3,500 miles for a customer!
Nationally Recognized Green Business
Since our County certification in 2009, people choose Rose City Label for our green business practices. We earned a very prestigious certification this year, and the Environmental Leadership award last year. We have reduced our water consumption by 47% in the past 5 years!
Family Business Values
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.
Rose City Label Recognized with TLMI Environmental Leadership Award for 2018
Rose City Label won the Environmental Leadership Award at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the top label printers in America. This Environmental Leadership Award is given annually to one printer and one supplier based on judging the association environmental community. The award recognizes specific programs, demonstrated results, and a cultural commitment to the environment. We are very honored to join the list of past winners and we will never stop on our eco-friendly journey. This year, the awards were renamed in honor of Calvin Frost – a true environmental leader in the printing industry. There is nothing better than a cold frosty beer from our customer in the commemorative ‘Frosty 2018’ mug.
Trying hard and having commitment are important, but for the TLMI Environmental Leadership Award, results matter:
- Five Year Water Reduction of 47%
- Five Year Natural Gas Reduction of 43%
- Small reductions in Garbage and Electricity as well
All measures are indexed to manufacturing output as our business has grown considerably in the past 5 years. Complete details and annual graphs of these measures can be found in this blog post.
Small Things that Every Business Can Apply
Besides these dramatic results, the committee was impressed with the programs and projects the company has championed. These include:
- Encouraging employee bicycle commuting
- Providing excess pallets for employee home garden projects
- Recycling pallet wrap at the local supermarket
- Giving away excess pallets on Craigslist for local projects
- Shipping via direct courier service whenever possible
- Reusing items in the press room during production runs
More about these innovative programs can be found at these two blog posts click here for part 1 and click here for part 2.
Make Conscious Choices
The final area called out by the judges in this award was a leadership commitment to the environment. This philosophy is baked into the business so deeply that an employee recently lobbied for an electric car charging station – she knew it would align with our values (and with her new car), but also would provide marketing value and would contribute to this award criteria. All team members know we are focused on the environment. Some additional major indicators:
- Conversion to 100% wind power – read more here
- Water wash printing plates – among the first on the West Coast to adopt this system – read more here
- Monthly review of eco-metrics along with financial performance
Honoring the Label Eco-Legend – Calvin Frost
This award was particularly important to us since it was renamed in honor of our longtime friend and vendor, Calvin Frost. Calvin has been the voice of the sustainability movement for decades and his message is finally being heard far and wide in the industry. Calvin’s company, Channelled Resources, is basically one big recycling business. For over 40 years, the company has inspected and salvaged potentially damaged product. This stock would be destined for the landfill if his company didn’t take the time to sort and save the (large percentage) of this material.
Winning this award any year would be great, but to the first ever ‘Frosty’ award winner is even better!
Thank You – Call Us Today
We are ready to help others become more ‘green’. Any success we have is a team effort and we want to help you on your journey. Are you just getting started? Or need some pro-level tips? Please call us today. If you buy labels, that is fantastic, but we will help any business with a true desire to learn and grow in their eco-journey. Cheers!
We are very proud of the good work we do to be an eco-friendly company. Our people care about the earth we share and they are proud to be a part of a company that considers the environment. Not all projects we start end up with dramatic results, but our eco-efforts certainly do. Over time, as we have measured and worked, the gains have piled up in all areas. Please contact us if you have questions.
Results – The Numbers Don’t Lie!
Once we were committed to the green business, we knew we needed to measure our results. Each month we measure these four eco-measures. These are indexed to our production – resources consumed per unit of production. Over the past five years, our business has grown considerably, so our absolute consumption has increased, but on a per unit of production basis, we have made fantastic gains. Check out these graphs!
Electricity – Down 3% since 2013
Water – Down 47% since 2013
Garbage – Down 7% since 2013
Natural Gas – Down 43% since 2013
Thank You! We appreciate all your support
We do this all for you, our amazing customers. Thank you for pushing us to do better every single day. We aren’t done yet – we will continue to work hard to make our company more and more eco friendly into the future. Are you on the same journey? Anything we can do to help? Please call us today, we would love to share more about our programs and the results we have achieved.
Rose City Label Sustainability – Part 2
We love being a GREEN company. Our customers can feel good about partnering with a leader in this area. Rose City Label Sustainability is woven into each part of our business and we live this out on a daily basis. Call us if you have any questions. We love helping others with their sustainability journey.
Free Pallets – Upcycling for Good
We generate excess pallets each month. Typically we buy material in large bulk rolls and sell small, custom label orders shipped via courier or UPS. Even with our staff projects, we can’t use up all these pallets internally. We shared this on social media, and now all our pallets are given away to neighbors for reuse. Read more by clicking here.
Reuse Trash as Shipment Padding
Waxed paper sheets separate rolls of adhesive label stock. This ‘slip sheet’ prevents rolls from sticking together. Wax coating makes these hard to recycle, so we use the sheets to pack our boxes going out to customers. The label rolls are clean and protected. Our customers are happy we can reuse this packaging to save money and the earth. Read more by clicking here.
Local Vendors and Courier Service
Whenever possible, we use small, local vendors for parts and supplies. This personal touch helps us stay up and running with responsive service for customers. And, we are supporting the local economy. Read more by clicking here. We also use a local delivery service for most shipments in the Portland area. Again, we are supporting a local company, but we also get faster deliveries to our customers. And, having our labels delivered by small, private auto is always better than a large industrial truck taking the labels back to a central hub to sort and deliver the following day. Our local courier partner is Direct Transport – learn more about them by clicking here.
Rose City Label Sustainability Summary – A Way of Life and Business
This is only part ONE! Hopefully this commitment is as important to you and your company as it is to us. If you have questions, please contact us. We are happy to help our customers and friends on their green journey. Rose City Label Sustainability matters. We work hard to make our company better in many ways. Balancing people, profit and planet – that is how we roll!