TLMI Looks to the Future

ALEXANDRIA, VA | TLMI (Tag and Label Manaufacturer’s Institute) held a press conference on the first morning of the recent 2016 Labelexpo Americas to share its vision of the future. TLMI chairman Dan Muenzer of Constantia Flexibles kicked things off with some background on TLMI. Muenzer introduced the TLMI’s new president, Mark Tibbetts. The association says Mark has a strong background in both association management and environmental issues, the latter being a key initiative in TLMI’s future. 

With the leadership transition, TLMI revisited its strategic priorities. The organization reviews these on an annual basis, setting goals for its future. TLMI made external affairs a priority, which included a move of its headquarters from the Boston area to Alexandria, VA. The new location is just across the Potomac River from Washington DC and Capitol Hill, which provides access to the government, as well as the headquarters for many of the other trade associations in the Northern Virginia and DC area. TLMI will also focus on environmental goals, setting waste reduction and recyclability of materials as top priorities moving forward.

John Crosby of Grand Rapids Label, Environmental Committee chairperson, discussed the activities and scope of his committee. There are nine subcommittees and more than 60 dedicated volunteers focused on its purpose. “We drive a sustainable future through environmental stewardship in the label and package printing industry,” said Crosby. The committee is expected to play a key role in meeting TLMI’s goals for the next 3–5 years of reducing matrix waste in landfills by 30% and increasing liner recycling by 30%.

In order to quantify improvements there needs to be measurement tools in place. Ingrid Brase, independent consultant and chairperson of the LCA task force, spoke to this topic. LCA, or life cycle assessment, is a method of evaluating environmental impacts of products or services from cradle to grave. With the increased demand for sustainable products and transparency of impacts, LCA has become increasingly important as a method or tool of interest. TLMI and FINAT joined forces with the goal of developing a common understanding of LCA and creating a common approach to developing the information required. They commissioned a study by PRe Consultants of the Netherlands to provide an overview of state of the practice as well as a guidance document recommending a common approach to labels for LCA. PRe Consultants also validated the approach through two case studies: paper label and film label. These case studies validated the opportunity for improvement by reducing liner and matrix waste. The study reports and case studies are available to all FINAT and TLMI members. Webinars and training sessions have been, and will continue to be, used to educate membership on the use of these tools as well.

This LCA tool is said to work well with TLMI’s L.I.F.E. (Label Initiative for the Environment) Program as both programs focus on measurement and waste reduction.

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