Our label of trust extends to pushing the boundaries in sustainability in our products to ensure a greener future for the generations to follow.

“Let us stand together to make of our world a sustainable source for our future as humanity on this planet.”

– Nelson Mandela

Rotolabel is passionate about the environment and is focussed on minimising any negative impact that our products may have on it. Our label of trust extends to pushing the boundaries in sustainability in our products to ensure a greener future for the generations to follow.

We subscribe to the 4R’s in packaging sustainability: responsible sourcing, reduction of materials, recyclability and increased recycled content.

As the leader in innovation in sustainability within the label printing space in South Africa, we’ve introduced some notable initiatives.

Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC-C119866)

Responsible sourcing is one of the cornerstones of sustainability – and while paper can be biodegradable and easily recyclable, it can also be the product of deforestation or poor forestry practices.

The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) is an international certification and labelling system that enables people to identify responsibly sourced wood, paper and other forest products. As the original pioneers of forest certification, FSC has over 25 years of experience in setting the gold standard for sustainable forest management.

In today’s world there’s no excuse for paper to not be sourced responsibly, which is why Rotolabel became FSC Chain of Custody-certified (FSC-C119866) back in 2015 – and was the first label printer in South Africa to achieve this.


Forests play an essential role in climate regulation. Together with oceans, forests are the key ecosystems the planet uses to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) – the most important greenhouse gas – from the atmosphere.

The Paris Agreement highlighted the importance of forests in responding to climate change, calling on all countries to conserve carbon sinks in forests. One-third (nearly 2.6 billion tonnes) of all CO2 released from fossil fuels are absorbed by forests every year.

FSC standards play an important role in maintaining forest cover, preventing deforestation and forest degradation, which are vital elements in the global climate change agenda to stop the planet passing the danger point of a more than 1.5 degree celsius temperature increase.

Showing the full value of forest ecosystems is fundamental to climate action and sustainability. Ecosystem services claims enable the inclusion of nature in decision-making through the measurement of impacts such as carbon sequestration and storage, biodiversity conservation, watershed services, soil conservation and recreational services.

Glassine Recycling

While self-adhesive labels are a great option for product labelling, recycling of the glassine liner remains a challenge in South Africa.

In partnership with Avery Dennison, Rotolabel ran a pilot project in Cape Town for the first ever glassine liner recycling programme in South Africa in 2018.

Despite many challenges, we have been able to recycle our first 21 tons of glassine liner, which is a significant step in reducing waste to landfill.

Material Reduction

One of the critical pillars for a more sustainable future is to reduce.

Pressure-sensitive labels form less than 3% of the overall packaging on a product, but reducing the use of resources can have a significant impact on the environment.

By reducing raw materials we can now offer thinner and lighter films with less grammage, without compromising the label’s performance. Using less raw material also generates less waste and creates a reduction of total consumer packaging – and that also means higher efficiency for brand owners.

The Avery Dennison ‘Lite’ range includes PP cavitated, PP clear and semigloss options.

Recycled Content

A key driver in the circular economy concept is for raw material suppliers to use recycled content in their virgin products.

There is now an array of materials available with up to 100% recycled content – saving resources including water, energy and greenhouse gasses.

With 15% post-consumer waste, rDT Direct Thermal Paper is the first recycled non-top-coated direct thermal paper in the market. It’s a solution for thermal applications that focus on sustainability and provides similar performance as that of a standard grade.

rCrush Wine Label Paper is a range of paper facestocks made from 30% to 100% recycled content and responsibly sourced crop materials with unique finishes ready to inspire creativity.

Made partially from recycled PET plastic, at 23 microns rPET Recycled Liner is the thinnest film liner currently in the market. And you can reduce your environmental footprint even further with liner recycling options.


Rotolabel has recently started garnering positive results from an 18-month collaboration of the commercialisation of CleanFlake™ with Avery Dennison.

CleanFlake™ is a unique pressure-sensitive adhesive technology that facilitates PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) recycling through a clean separation during the sink/float of the recycling process.

On a planet awash in plastic waste – and with regulators responding accordingly – every recycled package counts. But label contamination prevents proper recycling of hundreds of millions of food-grade PET packages every year, resulting in downcycling or no recycling at all. CleanFlake™ technology ensures that labels and adhesive separate from PET every time, increasing the yields of pure PET flakes.

CleanFlake™ products have passed the most stringent tests of the Association of Plastics Recyclers (APR). The technology has also been endorsed by Extrupet as a suitable solution for recycling PET bottles back into food-grade rPET (recycled PET) in its facilities.

Through this initiative, Rotolabel hopes to share the benefits of CleanFlake™ and its recyclability of not only bottles made from PET, but other packaging formats as well – and help set an example for others in the industry.


Demand for compostable packaging is increasing across many business segments due to tightening legislation on the use of plastic.

Avery Dennison’s ClearIntent™ compostable range offers a combination of facestocks and adhesives that can be reintroduced into nature. It helps brand owners, retailers and converters meet growing consumer demand for sustainable solutions and also addresses anticipated legislative requirements on landfill and sustainable packaging.

It’s important to note that when applying biodegradable and compostable labels to packaging, the packaging must also be biodegradable and compostable, otherwise it defeats the purpose. Also, most compostable packaging needs to be decomposed by industrial decomposting, and South Africa currently has a limited infrastructure and resources.

Renewable Solutions

Renewable solutions can help us to reduce carbon dioxide emission and mitigate climate change.

UPM Raflatac has created Forest Film™ – the unique white or clear plastic label solution based on wood-based residue materials – a product that allows you to take the first important steps of phasing out fossil fuels.

Forest Film™ uses UPM BioVerno naphtha, a 100% wood-based solution originating from sustainably managed forests that gives new life to residue from the pulping process.


Bio-based Materials

UPM Raflatac is constantly trying to find ways to speed up a transition from virgin fossils to bio-based raw materials.

PP White Food FTC and PP Clear Food FTC are specially designed for rigid packaging for food end-use and suit the majority of PP labelling applications. PP Food is part of the sustainable SmartChoice™ portfolio that helps to reduce carbon footprint and mitigate climate change.

PP Food minimises the amount of virgin fossil raw materials by using thinner and resource-optimised components. Combined with R307 adhesive and FSC™ certified (FSC-C012530) HD Lite-FSC backing paper, PP Food is a labelling solution that takes rigid plastic packaging in a more sustainable direction.

Why choose PP Food?

  • PP Food is an easy and impactful way to reach carbon footprint reduction targets
  • Includes 30% bio-content from vegetable oil and their residues and / or crude tall oil
  • Choosing PP Food is a positive climate action for raw materials by reducing fossil carbon to atmosphere – by using 1mm2 of PP Food we contribute to changing 10 tons of virgin fossil to bio-based and to increasing the use of renewable raw materials
  • Both products are certified by ISCC PLUS on a mass-balance basis

PP Food enables brand owners to lower their carbon footprint, increase the sustainability of their packaging and be a sustainable leader in their market.

HDPE Recycling


The recycling of HDPE (high-density polyethylene) containers can be a challenge, especially with limited viable options in the industry to enable it.

Mono-materials are products that are only composed of a single type of material, making them typically easier to recycle than products made of various materials.

The Avery Dennison portfolio of polypropylene and polyethylene labels with emulsion acrylic adhesives brings HDPE recycling to a new level.

As a mono-material approach, it is the first to pass testing and to meet or exceed the strictest APR (Association of Plastic Recyclers) HDPE Critical Guidance criteria. This recognition gives brands in segments such as personal care, home care and automotive validation that the label remains on the container during recycling without impacting the overall physical properties of the recycled HDPE pellets.

HDPE plastic can be reused and recycled, making it a sustainable and long-lasting product that has endless applications.

In a conventional recycling process, HDPE is generally separated by resin colour, with anything foreign to the bottle (decoration, inks, coatings, etc) removed and rigorously cleaned It then goes through an extrusion process, taking shredded pieces of HDPE plastic and melting them into pellets for later use. After the extrusion process, the resin will either be downcycled and used in things such as park benches and piping or recycled back into non-food-grade bottles.

The Avery Dennison HDPE mono-material label eliminates its removal during the recycling process, making it an ideal choice for conscious brand owners seeking an efficient labelling solution.

  • Allows HDPE recycling and downcycling into rHDPE, which preserves a valuable raw material
  • Labels stay with the container during recycling without impacting rHDPE pellets for pigmented applications
  • Available in PP, PE, PO film facestocks
  • PS label lids enable recyclability of flexible packaging
  • Certified by the APR, meeting or exceeding their strictest criteria

Recycling Symbols

Recycling and waste management are hot topics throughout the world, and consumers need to know what can and can’t be recycled so they can play their part.

Recycling symbols are standardised symbols that are used to indicate the recyclability of materials and to help consumers and waste management facilities properly sort and recycle different types of materials. The symbols are typically found on product packaging, containers, and sometimes directly on the product itself.

rotolabel-recycling -symbols-explained
rotolabel-mobius-loop -symbol

Mobius Loop

This is a widely recognised symbol that features three arrows chasing each other in a triangle, forming a loop.

It signifies that the product or packaging is recyclable, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be accepted for recycling in all areas.

Material Identification Code (MIC)

This symbol consists of a number surrounded by three arrows that form a triangle. Each number represents a different type of plastic resin used in the product. For example:

  • 1 – PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)
  • 2 – HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene)
  • 3 – PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
  • 4 – LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene)
  • 5 – PP (Polypropylene)
  • 6 – PS (Polystyrene)
  • 7 – Other (often a mixture of plastics or other materials)
rotolabel-material -identification-code-symbols

It’s a common misconception that products with a MIC symbol can be recycled, and this is certainly not the case in South Africa. Some consumers think that the number in the symbol indicates how many times the plastic can be recycled and reused, but these symbols actually represent the type of material that the packaging is made of, and not whether it’s recyclable.

Most plastic resins are technically recyclable, but due to a lack of infrastructure and equipment and other factors, many cannot be recycled in South Africa – and a lot of waste that could be recyclable still ends up in landfills.

To assist with advancing the recycling process, a group of leading South African retailers and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are working on standardised “On Pack Recycling Logos (OPRLs)” that clearly state whether packaging can currently be recycled.


The new logos have a Mobius loop and read ‘Recycled’ or ‘Not Recycled’. To be labelled with ‘Recycled’, the packaging must be able to be collected and actively recycled in practice and at scale in at least one major city in South Africa.

Packaging will still include the material identification codes, but the new OPRLs will also appear on packaging labels whenever possible.

Recyclability information will be regularly reviewed and updated as recycling facilities upgrade their equipment or more recycling options become available.