24.10.2023 | News Overview

Deutscher Drucker 10/23 Second life for the film


Second life for the film

Are refined print products actually still contemporary? If you follow some of the arguments, such as those used by “Obi” and “Rewe”, print generally seems to be out of date. The opposite is the case, as the Achilles company emphatically shows.

Refined print products are a popular alternative, especially in today’s digital age. Refined print communication, be it in the form of books, commercials, packaging or other advertising materials, serves, in addition to functional and protective tasks, crucial multi-sensory, haptic and visual purchasing impulses. Various studies have shown that refined print products in the media mix stand for attention, value and credibility. It has also been written many times in specialist magazines about how much consumers generally value print and, fortunately, many are also skeptical about theories that see digital communication channels per se as a more sustainable alternative. For this reason, solutions and their communication are required that show that there are technical applications that can conserve valuable resources without product restrictions. Achilles’ current answers here are recycling, reduction, renunciation, multiple use and renewable energies.

Quality you can touch: The cover of this DD edition was made with the matt OPP film with 30% recycled content
The Advent calendar combines longevity and a second use
Folding box with a foil-free transfer metallization
Folding box with a PLA film and an X-treme matt coating
Examples of laminated film-free paper composites


Since this year, Achilles has primarily been using OPP glossy and matt films, which have a recycled content of up to 30 percent! This is new: previously there were only films with recycled content in the PET lamination sector. Through recycling, parts of the film are given a “second life”. Resources once used, such as energy, working time and materials, are put to meaningful further use through mechanical recycling. The high quality of the recycled film makes it a real alternative for users. After extensive testing, the film showed the same properties compared to films without recycled content, both in terms of look, feel and durability as well as in further processing.

Reduction and renunciation

The challenges are particularly great in the packaging sector: on the one hand, to ensure the necessary barriers to protect the products and, on the other hand, to generate a high level of purchasing interest through the visual and haptic brand appearance. Here, with film laminations in the PET sector (silver, gold and holographic), material savings of up to 30% are possible, simply by reducing the film thickness from, for example, 12 my to 8 my. Alternatively, recycled PET, so-called RPET, can be used here, which uses up to 90% post-consumer recycling (PCR). If it’s just a matter of appearance, it is also possible to use the carrier film exclusively for transferring the metallization to the product in various ways using transfer metallization and then send these PET carrier films (also silver, gold and holographic) directly for recycling To make available. Finally, paper composites, completely without film, are now an integral part of the Achilles product portfolio, especially for the food industry.

Multiple use

Essentially, Achilles finishing services are intended to make printed products more durable, safer and more valuable. A product that is robust and retains its visual appeal for a long time is less likely to be replaced. True to this corporate philosophy, Achilles recently presented its second life strategy at Luxepack in Monaco. With high-quality products that provide additional benefits after use, the company is now focusing entirely on the second life – whether bottle packaging that is converted into lamps or wall calendars that become craft utensils. The possibilities are limitless. The new Advent calendar embodies this idea by combining longevity through special refinements and secondary use. If you take a closer look, the 24 boxes promise fun for young and old: whether it’s a memory or a puzzle with particularly refined motifs – the reuse possibilities of high-quality packaging are limitless.

Films made from renewable raw materials

Achilles also offers bio-based films, i.e. films made from renewable raw materials, in the area of sheet and roll lamination. These include, for example, acetate and PLA films. Here, the finishing of folding boxes with the scratch-resistant X-treme matt coating is a very good further development. The Achilles Group monitors the market very closely and can respond to all customer requests. Here too, we have been available to customers for a long time with the relevant expertise on the topics of application, ecology and recycling. It is interesting to note that one of the first associations when bio-based films are asked for is compostability. Apart from the fact that bio-based does not mean biodegradable, compostability is obviously viewed positively by the majority of people. However, it should be borne in mind that only the films and not the entire product (paper, cardboard, etc.) would be biodegradable, and only under ideal industrial conditions. The requirement for biodegradability means that 90% of the film is degradable. This process is designed in such a way that degradability must take place at a temperature of at least 60° over twelve weeks. This is the requirement from the “Industrial Compost Certificate”. In reality, however, this is never achieved in our recycling centers. Then no biowaste recycler wants biobased plastics in their truly compostable bioraw materials. Composting foil, glitter or similar materials, if they can be separated at all, always means the destruction of resources without any benefit.

Blue Angel

This brings the topic of recycling full circle. All of us should be concerned about preserving raw materials as much as possible and, if possible, putting them to further use. After all, around 80% of the paper used in Germany has now returned to the paper mills for recycling and has been used again. Practice proves it.