Sustainability: The Unglossed Facts

At ITW Foils, we know that environmental sustainability is a growing imperative for designers, brands, printers, and converters. We offer various brilliant decorative options to help brands shine with a clear conscience.

Hot Foils

Hot foils contain no film and do not prevent paper from being repulped, recycled, or de-inked. The metallic foil material is removed from paper in the de-inking stage of recycling, with centrifugal screening equipment removing even high concentrations of foil. There is minimal waste in its application due to foil indexing. In fact, hot foil stamping, while brilliantly reflective, ranks at the top of sustainable metallic decorative options.

Cold Foils

Cold foil is a lightweight and sustainable alternative for total metallic coverage. Cold foiling, like hot foil stamping contains no film and does not prevent paper from being repulped, recycled, or de-inked. The application of this metallic effect is typically performed on press in line with printing. Some modern cold foil equipment features foil indexing (reuse) functions that result in substantial foil consumption savings.

Transfer Metallized Substrates

Transfer metallized boards and papers contain no film, therefore they are recyclable and compostable. The finished product is the lightest fully metallized substrate. The film utilized in the transfer process can be produced from recycled sources and reused during manufacturing. The aluminum generally contains recycled-grade materials, and the paper and paperboards can be from renewable and/or recycled sources as well.

UV Film Casting

UV film casting is a highly efficient holography process in which effects are applied directly to printed sheets on press by means of a reusable holographic film and a UV varnish, which is dried by UV light. Unlike other decorative options, this process creates an illusion, with no actual transfer of substance. UV casted boards and papers contain no film, so they are recyclable and compostable.* The production process does not emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

* Assuming all other products and processes used are sustainable as well.

Grading the Metallic Decorative Options (lowest grade --, highest grade ++)

  Sustainable Sourcing Potential Manufacturing Efficiency: Energy Use Production: Efficiency, Emissions Reflectivity/ Attraction Potential Life Span Protection Potential Disposal: Recyclable Biodegradable
Hot Foils ++ ++ ++ ++ -- ++
Cold Foils ++ + ++ + - ++
Foil Laminate Substrates - ++ ++ ++ ++ --
Transfer Metallized Substrates + + + + - +
UV Film Casting ++ ++ ++ + - ++

Chart information is based, in part, on The Sustainable Facts about Metallized Decorating Techniques, FSEA 2010