What's in a label? When it comes to paper, the answer can mean the difference between what's recycled or isn't. If labels using rubber-based or acrylic adhesives get into the recycling process, the impurities gum up pulping machinery. This means that labels must be manually removed, or the material will be rejected by paper mills. As a result, many office recycling programs require that newspapers, envelopes, and business forms--many of which have labels--be thrown into the garbage.
Now, Adhesives Research Inc. has a solution. It is selling a completely recyclable, noncontaminating stock for labels. The adhesive is a synthetic polymer that is broken down by the water and mechanical agitation used in the recycling process. The Glen Rock (Pa.) company is now selling bulk rolls of labeling material backed with the new adhesive.