January 31, 2024
Tube manufacturers are working to make their products more environmentally friendly. One of the ways to accomplish this is to reduce the amount of plastic used in each tube. Additionally, tubes must use the same material for cap and body to achieve 100% recyclability. Another focus is on more sustainable and recyclable decoration options.
Traditionally, extruded plastic tubes are made with a polyethylene (PE) sleeve, or body, with a polypropylene (PP) cap. The use of two separate plastics in a single tube makes the PE/PP tubes unrecyclable. Manufacturers are beginning to offer mono-material tubes, which are made from a single plastic. Some of these mono-material tubes have already gained popularity in the form of in-mold label tubes, made from PP.
New mono-material tubes are also being developed with much smaller cap or dispenser designs. This cuts down greatly on plastic usage per container.
Recyclable Tube Decorations
In addition to extruding tubes from a single material, new environmentally friendly labels and printing options are being developed. A tube can be mono material but still unrecyclable due to materials or inks found in the decoration.
Two new popular printing options involve flexo-printing on an extremely thin PE film or directly onto the extruded tube. The PE film is applied during the extrusion process, so no adhesives are used. Embossing, debossing, and the application of overprinted foil are other ways to add texture and depth to tube decorations.
Many of these new decoration methods are prone to scratching or other damage when used in traditional injection molded tube holders and tooling. Our 3D printed Flex Pucks are a great way to ensure your end product always looks flawless.
Feel free to reach out and contact us with any questions.