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The Truth About Foiling and Recyclability

Date 14th February 2020
The Truth About Foiling and Recyclability

We’ve decided to bust some myths about foiling and recyclability.

If you’re not a print geek like us, foiling is thin film of metallic foil which is impressed onto a document using a die – helping to create a really eye-catching piece of print and promoting quality. You’ll spot foiling on a wide range of print, especially greetings cards.

There’s a misconception that as soon as you put any foil on your print, you can’t recycle it.

Well, as a manufacturer of millions of greetings cards each year, many of which include foiling, we felt we couldn’t sit back any longer and wanted to put the record straight.

So, here goes:

Print containing hot foiling CAN be recycled.

Here are the facts:

  • Once transferred, foil is so incredibly thin (less than 2.5µm (microns) thick), that it completely dissipates within the re-pulping process. The coating weight is often less than conventional inks.
  • Therefore, as long as the paper/card you foil onto is also recyclable, you can simply throw it in the recycling bin.
  • Foil used on recyclable material can be re-pulped in the normal waste streams.
  • Foil is a dry, solvent-free method of printing.
  • Any waste foil from the production process is taken away and recycled by our dedicated waste company.
  • Foilco, who provide foil to SAPC were the first foil company to be certified as ZeroFoil2Landfill compliant – A scheme backed by the BPF.

Would you like to find out more? You can read more about the sustainability and environmental credentials of foil in this informative pack from Foilco here.

Are you thinking about incorporating foiling or other specialist finishing into your upcoming print project? Have a look at our Specialist Finishing Services page or get in touch with our team of printing experts, we’d love to chat more.


*As stated in PIRA Report: September 2008 – Tested  sample sheets caused no problems in the re-pulping process.

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