The use of shrink sleeves around bottles and containers is continuously growing.
Shrink sleeves typically cover the entire surface of an object, providing extra space for attractive graphics and information. Besides decoration and information shrink sleeves can also provide safety and security when forming a tamper-evident seal around the neck and cap of a bottle or pot.
Shrink sleeves are typically printed in reverse facing the graphics through the transparent film. In this way the printed image is secured between the film and the object, providing the best scratch and chemical resistance. A high-slip last-down white, applied with the flexo unit on a hybrid web offset press, allows for fast and easy sleeve positioning around the bottle or container.
Common shrink film materials are cPET, PETG, and OPS. The use of PVC shrink film is strongly declining because of the chlorine content.
As shrink sleeves are not glued onto the object, they can be easily separated in a mechanical recycling process which is a sustainability advantage. Low-density shrink films are developed for easy separation from the PET bottle flakes in a sink bath, allowing for a clean recycling stream with the least amount of contamination possible.
The use of cPET (crystallisable polyester) for shrink sleeves is an upcoming trend. cPET has the same chemistry as PET bottles. After passing through a deinking process the CPET flakes can stay in the same recycling stream as the flakes from the PET bottles without the risk of downcycling.