Water washable v water dispersible labels

Many food manufacturers are turning to reusable packaging containers (RPCs) to transport ingredients and finished product through your operation and supply chain. That’s because it’s good business sense and it’s good for the planet too.

Our customers who have made the change to RPCs are also finding that switching from standard adhesive traceability labels to water washable or water dispersible labels has its benefits.

Advantages of water washable & water dispersible labels

Our customers tell us that they made the switch for these key reasons:

  • Their RPCs last longer as they don’t get covered in label adhesive residue that is really hard to remove – saving money
  • The labels are removed by their tray washing system so no additional manpower is needed to remove old labels or tags – saving money
  • Drains and filters don’t get clogged with label material when trays are being washed – saving time and money
  • Avoid costly fines from external RPC providers that can be levied for returning dirty trays – saving money
  • As water washable and dispersible labels are fully removed, there is no risk of confusion that can be caused when old adhesive labels remain attached to trays – saving money and protecting their brand image.

When to use water dispersible labels

Water dispersible labels, sometimes called water soluble labels, are made from a bio-based material with added natural cellulose.

water dispersible labelWhen the labels come in contact with water, the adhesive and cellulose element of the label substrate dissolve. The remaining wood pulp fibres that make up the label break down and disperse into tiny pieces that ultimately biodegrade.

Our customers who use a ‘closed loop’ supply chain system ie they own the RCPs and constantly circulate their trays within their own company sites, find that water dispersible labels suit them best. That’s because they have full control of their trays and the washing process.

When to use water washable labels

Water washable labels, sometimes known as water removable labels, have a water soluble adhesive. That means as the RCPs enter the tray wash system water penetrates the label and dissolves the adhesive. The whole label detaches and floats into a special filter designed to catch the substrate.

It’s important that water washable labels are correctly attached to RCPs to assist the process of removal by allowing water to ingress the label easily.

Our customers who utilise the services of a commercial RCP provider, such as IFCO, use our water washable labels. Our labels are tried and test to meet IFCO standards and thus avoid the fines that can be imposed on users for returning dirty or damaged trays.

On a final note, both water washable and water dispersible labels can work out more expensive than using traceability tags. We are happy to work with customers to explore whether the extra cost can be outweighed in terms of operational savings, reduction in fines and positive impact on your brand.

Call us for an impartial chat about what will work best for your operation.