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Is there a more sustainable alternative to encapsulation and laminating?

Published: 23.04.2021

Is there a more sustainable alternative to encapsulation and laminating?

Is there a more sustainable alternative to encapsulation and laminating? In today’s world it’s absolutely right for all of us to be looking at our processes and materials, to see how we can adapt to make the future more sustainable and environmentally friendly. 

Data makes it pretty clear that we simply have to if we want Planet Earth to continue to be a great place to live.


Of course, it’s not always straightforward to find a decent solution.   For example, think about signs, notices, documents that need to be weatherproof, durable or cleanable.  The last 12 months have only highlighted just how essential these are and always will be – warning signs on walls about Covid, directions to vaccination centres etc, they’re everywhere.  It’s simply not possible to live without these.  And what about schools?  In the educational environment, so many items every day need to be protected from grubby fingers, ripped corners, mishaps etc.  Otherwise they’d be re-printing the same document countless times……  In medical, everything exposed notice or document needs to be thoroughly cleaned daily for hygiene reasons.


The popular protective solution for these kind of products has always been to use a laminator along with laminating pouches or rolls to encapsulate the printed paper between 2 pieces of polyester-based film, using heated rollers to seal the adhesive onto the paper, a time-consuming process at best.  But you only need to smell a hot laminator to know that the chemicals used in this process are not the nicest!   Worse than that, when a piece of paper has been encapsulated in this way it is pretty much impossible to recycle, because the complex process required to subsequently separate the paper and film for recycling is not practically viable. 


Here at Ashgrove we know a fair amount about this, as we’ve been supplying lamination materials for well over 20 years!   And for most of those years we’ve been trying to find a better solution.

We all know that things such as clear pockets and wallets only offer limited help as the paper isn’t properly sealed in.  And without protection, so many essential items just don’t make the grade.


The good news is that we’ve found the perfect product for the future: try weatherproof printable paper instead!   Printable with any decent laser printer or copier, this 100% polyester “paper” is totally durable, weatherproof and cleanable – even with chemicals - straight from the printer.  As well as saving a lot of time and getting rid of the heat-activated adhesive, polyester paper is 100% recyclable.  You may of course say “it is still plastic” and while that is true, polyester is one of the most stable and recyclable of plastics and practically it is not possible to achieve durability any other way, meaning that the key thing for the future is to achieve full “closed-loop” recyclability for durable signs, notices and documents of this nature.


Here at Ashgrove, where we’re all about making print last longer, we’re campaigning to end the use of laminating pouches! Here’s one change we can all make today, making a small but significant contribution for a sustainable future.

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