UPM RafCycle service helps Kiilto cut label waste, lowering the carbon footprint of products

Despite a large and diverse product portfolio, all Kiilto products share a common denominator: labels. Kiilto is one of the first companies in Finland to collaborate with UPM Raflatac’s RafCycle recycling service that enables recycling of the label liner waste. Well-planned and executed collaboration between companies supports efficient use of raw materials and waste being recycled instead of incinerated.

RafCycle recycling service is label release liner waste recycling in its simplest form. Kiilto collects the label liner waste in their production facilities, after which UPM Raflatac arranges the pickup and takes care of transforming the waste into new paper products.

“Our target is to cut our waste amount in half from the year 2018 level. When we heard about the RafCycle recycling service, we were immediately interested. The service is designed to reduce waste that goes to landfill or incineration, and that waste is sent to be recycled instead. This solves an issue which we had with the label liner waste stream,” says Lilli Puntti, the Head of Product Safety and Sustainability in Kiilto.

Concrete actions on every step of the value chain create sustainable solutions

The global waste issue is real. The impact of the linear use of materials drives climate change. With tightening sustainability regulations and consumers demanding more sustainable solutions, companies search for solution not only to improve their own processes but also to build a sustainable value chain that supports circular economy.

This requires also concentrating on details. In the process of labelling products, the label release liner is an often an overlooked waste stream.

“After we got the full introduction of the RafCycle service in January 2021, we agreed to test how the service works and fits our processes. It turned out to work well and after the test period we established RafCycle as part of our processes,” Puntti says.

The recycled liners are mostly collected from construction products where the volumes are high. After starting the collaboration in 2021, Kiilto has recycled around 5 tons of liner waste which equals to 1,2 tons of fossil CO2e emissions avoided when compared to incineration. This also means a lower carbon footprint to products.

Identifying different material streams is essential in gaining the environmental targets

Juha Virmavirta, Director of the RafCycle service in UPM Raflatac, has been working with RafCycle since 2016. The service has been growing constantly over the years and today it has over 400 service partners in Europe from multiple end-uses, from food and beverage to industrial chemicals and almost anything in between.

“The RafCycle service has been growing steadily over the years, and it is great to finally have a well-known and forward-looking Finnish company like Kiilto as a partner, one of the first ones in Finland. We constantly seek more partners from different industries and countries to join the service. This way we can avoid a lot of unnecessary CO2 emission, while at the same time spread the word that through well-planned and executed collaboration between companies, circular economy will become a reality,” Juha Virmavirta says.

A process that takes all stages into account also increases trust towards companies, brands and products. When there are no blind spots, measuring of the actual environmental effect is possible. 

“It is important that we can develop different kinds of sustainable solutions with different partners. Well-functioning sustainability program needs different kinds of actions and initiatives for different kinds of material streams. RafCycle is one example of these actions,” Puntti says, encouraging other companies to join.

For more information: 

Laura Heinovaara 
Sustainability Communications Manager, Kiilto 
+358 505969424