The Zero-2-Landfill project

Prismm Environment has been a well known recycling management company in the print industries for over a decade, heading various recycling and environmental initiatives. One particular area of research has been in the label sector, establishing that approximately 120,000 tonnes of label waste a year is still going to landfill. Consequently it is largely recognized that the UK label printing industry has a poor record with regard to it’s environmental credibility. Not something to be proud of in today’s climate.

A project in conjunction with BPIF Labels
With the above mentioned in mind, two years ago, Prismm Environmental in conjunction with BPIF Labels launched the Zero-2-Landfill project. Prismm assists BPIF on waste and recycling matters for their members and non-members alike, recognising that Prismm works on behalf of the printer and not the waste contractor.
Prismm had established that one primary problem had been applying cost effective solutions for recovering label waste from landfill from individual print sites, and with all the hype about recycling you’d like to think that the waste industry would have the answers. Unfortunately, this is far from the case. The vast majority of contractors and Treatment Facilities are geared up to handle the mass volumes of council and “black bag” rubbish. These companies do not want to run heavy, sticky label reels due to the destructive effect it has on their processing machinery. It’s becoming more common place that unless a contractor can simply landfill label waste they’re unwilling to even quote for the business as it “ruins” key areas of their plant. The few recovery facilities that do have the equipment capable of processing core based label waste inflict high charges, relative or higher than landfill due to their increased costs.

Matrix reel on the press (Source: Prismm Environment)

Environmental credibility as a crucial factor
Having recognised this massive problem Prismm Environmental believe that no matter what excuses there are, such poor environmental credibility is not acceptable throughout the industry. This is being increasingly confirmed by brand owners and supermarkets putting pressure on the supply chain and their environmental focus, therefore means that a cost effective solution for the label sector had to be found.
Through extensive waste and recycling market knowledge, Prismm Environmental implemented this project and is currently diverting around 10,000 tonnes a year of label waste from landfill. This is just the beginning: Given the estimated annual tonnage still going to landfill the print industry need to actively participate to make a more significant dent on the current environmental issue.
When the scheme was first introduced it catered primarily for large print sites due to economies of scale and the volumes of material requiring a single collection to make it cost effective. However, through the success of the scheme it is now possible to extend to smaller printers. Now any printer, no matter how small, could benefit from the service. To be part of the scheme the printer should contact Prismm Environmental, who will conduct a site audit and evaluate and discuss how the service would operate within particular facilities.

Examples of practical implementation
The waste is stored on site until the required volume has been produced and is then collected and transported to the treatment site for recovery. Collection volumes can be as little as 600kg, and up to 26 tonnes, depending on a sites capability. Segregation of this material enables Prismm to source alternative recovery methods and routes for the remaining general waste other than landfill.
Prismm ensure that any printer joining the scheme also benefits financially to varying degrees depending on original landfill costs and waste output. This is calculated at the outset and recorded on a month by month basis.
One company that has championed the project from the beginning is PPL Pharmaceutical, Leeds. They were landfilling all their matrix/set-up waste as there were no waste contractors available to recover this material. As PPL is also restricted on storage space, they were having regular low volume collections which added to their costs. Prismm carried out a site audit to evaluate their service requirements and within 2 weeks had introduced the Zero 2 Landfill project, ensuring PPL were not only diverting all their waste from landfill, but they were benefiting financially and logistically. Prismm manage all the wastes produced from PPL and by tightly controlling the contractors ensure they receive the best deal for each waste/recycling stream.

Some other companies that have also embraced the scheme include; Multi Packaging Solutions, CCL Labels, The Label Makers, Americk Advantage, Sato UK, TW Parker, Kingsway Printers, Sprite Labels, Stampiton Labels, Amberley Labels, Cresta Labels, Vale Labels and BSP Labels In all cases, implementing workable changes to internal processes has enabled label waste to be segregated and collected according to individual waste outputs and site requirements.

Landfilled label waste (Source: Prismm Environment)

More needs to be done
Although the work to date is a positive step towards improving the industries environmental credibility, more needs to be done. The related supply chain must recognize that they too have a responsibility, not legal but moral, to help us work together as an industry. To do this Prismm is seeking the support of all key suppliers, whose by-products become a waste, and to pro-actively champion this Zero-2-Landfill project. The next step is to therefore call on the likes of Herma, Raflatac, and Avery Dennison to actively support Prismm in their quest to turn the label sector into an industry of environmental excellence.

Jon Hutton, sales director at Prismm Environmental comments: “Label printers on the whole recognize that they have an environmental responsibility and landfilling their waste isn’t acceptable. Many printers have tried over the years to seek alternatives to landfill but have simply been given no guidance or options by waste contractors. We’ve had to look beyond the typical waste contractor’s limitations to devise the first cost effective alternative of label waste recovery. We’re now seeing a positive response from printers, who are keen to join the initiative, but we need the support of the print supply chain and Wastes Industry as well. By working together as an industry and utilizing the skills of key partners we can turn this into an area of business that the Label Print market can be proud of.”

He went on to say: “2016 is an exciting time for Prismm Environmental; as part of our Zero-2-Landfill scheme we are rolling out the first Environmental Accreditation specifically for this waste stream, overseen and implemented by a UKAS Accredited body, and sponsored by the BPIF. This will be the standard for all label printers to aspire to and printers within the scheme will be eligible to apply for certification.”
For more information on the Zero-2-Landfill scheme please contact Jon Hutton ( or any member of the Prismm Environmental team.

This article was first published in NarrowWebTech, issue 1-2016


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