Best Method For Labeling Waste Management & Recycling Carts

Written By: Jason Brownell

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You could be a manufacturer of residential or business refuse carts, a waste or recycling management company, a provider of curbside waste collection service, or a city municipality providing your city with a public curbside cleanliness program. In any of these scenarios there are durable plastic carts that need to be provided. Furthermore, thoughtful planning must be taken to ensure that those plastic carts can be identifiable back to each of the respective owners and service providers.

Proper identification of the plastic carts is important, but what is the best method for labeling waste management & recycling carts made of plastic?

The goal of any service provider, manufacturer, municipality or brand of carts is to have a highly visible image or message that remains on those carts for the lifetime of the product, bringing continued awareness to that city program or brand name.

Current labeling methods such as stickers, decals, foils, engravings, in-mold labels (IML’s) or off the shelf ink and pad prints cannot provide a truly permanent label to those carts.

The reason they cannot provide true permanence, even though they claim to, is that those methods rely on materials like adhesive or surface treatments to attempt to make their labeling stick to the cart surface. When choosing a durable labeling method of plastic like polyethylene and polypropylene, one must be careful of labeling methods for plastics that claim they are permanent.

“Adhesion” based labels were not designed for plastics, let alone the family of polyolefin based plastics, which is widely used in cart manufacturing. Adhesion based labels were designed originally for the textiles & paper industry, so those 2 material types are going to repel each other either immediately or over time and outside in the field. Meaning UV, weathering, household chemicals, cleaners, oils and more will break down those adhesion based labels, leaving an unidentifiable cart and an unidentifiable message to the public.

Best Method For Labeling Waste Management & Recycling Carts

You need to look for a pure “cohesion” based labeling method that is tested and passes against UV, weathering, chemicals, oils, battery acids and more. A pure cohesion based label, like the Polyfuze Graphic is easily used with a standard hot stamping machine and it melds completely into the sub-surface of the carts plastic surface, using no adhesives, no clear coats and no surface pre-treatments. Just pure fusion to become one with the carts plastic.

A simple test you can do on your own if you currently have labels already on the part, is to do the ASTM D3359-97 Crosshatch Tape Test. This simple test will tell you right away how permanent your current labeling method will survive any rigors of the field.

If you are a public waste collection service, hospital waste service, city municipal cleanliness program provider, a brand owner for waste & recycling refuse carts or a field service worker for waste collection, you should be aware of the end goals for labeling your carts properly.

Your cart being properly labeled with either instructions, a brand image or other requirements is what dictates how your cart will be used, identified and how an end customer will perceive your quality of product and waste or recycling program.

Successful cart brands and collection services like Schaefer Waste carts, WM waste carts, Otto waste carts, Trash Taxi carts and IPL carts in North America have focused on retaining their brand or service message with fusion labeling methods. Securing a permanent label for the message remains a focal point for their success. Also a focus for a cart brands success is a lower scrap rate, which can be difficult to track once the cart is already curbside and out in the field.

If the cart labeling fails in any respect, your end user of the cart will not receive the message of your cleanliness program or remember who is providing that program as a service. If the labeling fails, instructions for particular cart content could be disregarded, ended up with yard debris in one cart or another and recycling items getting mixed up with regular waste items. If the cart label fails and has ID or inventory tracking purposes fading away, refuse collection service teams cannot fulfill their data entry duties. As a result, they lose time which is costly. Lack of long-term branding or identification can also result in unidentified carts having to be replaced.

With such a visible representation of your city seal, brand or service to the public on a day to day basis, thought should be taken to decide upon a truly permanent labeling method. You should choose the best method for labeling your waste management or recycling carts to last the lifetime of the durable plastic cart and to maintain your message, logo or brand image to its best. The best way to achieve this is by choosing a pure cohesion based label that is formulated to fuse with plastic.

Brand owners and quality refuse cart services deserve the best method for labeling waste management & recycling carts. If you’d like to understand how a Polyfuze Graphic label is different from other labeling methods, please contact us today so we can explain. Or ask your Public Works or Sanitation Departments, prior to starting any RFP label bidding processes, to learn how Polyfuze Graphics labeling for plastic can improve your business.

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