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Rebecca Miller

Implementing a Sacrificial Polymer Layer to Enable the Recyclability of Poly (ethylene terephthalate) in Packaging Release Liners

Rebecca Miller 2023 3MTAbstract

Package labeling is used ubiquitously as a standardized communication process; however, current labeling materials are not sustainable. Commonly used pressure-sensitive adhesive labels are stored on release liners composed of silicone coated poly(ethylene terephthalate). These materials are discarded immediately after use creating 2.2 billion pounds of unrecyclable waste annually since there is not a viable separation or purification system in place for these materials. In this presentation, we demonstrate an effort to solve this problem through implementing a sacrificial polymer as a tie layer between the poly(ethylene terephthalate) and silicone to enable separation of the layers. Our new design exhibits layer separation in a system compatible with current industrial processes used for washing and recycling plastic materials. Separation of the layers enable the recyclability of PET and sets the precedent for using sacrificial polymers as tie layers to enable the recycling of multi-layer materials.