2019 saw some progress towards a wider offering of "green" materials and adhesives. We touched on this during the year, see here - https://www.securalabels.co.uk/blog - and indeed sent samples of some options. If you have any questions or would like samples then please contact us.

Grass paper, offers excellent credentials, using 97% less energy and 99% less water, while offers CO2 savings of around 25% when compared to a standard wood pulp processing, however the "colour" and "finish" of this product we would guess are hurdles to this product becoming widely used. To confirm, this product is NOT biodegradeable or compostable. 
(Grape, Marble and other options are also available, however these are a route to offering products from sustainable sources rather than offering the same resource savings.) 

Several manufacturers are now able to supply "compostable" adhesives on semi gloss and "Eco" Thermal papers along with some some filmic products, however, while we have supplied some labels already, these options are currently expensive, the raw material around 3 - 4 times the cost of equivalent "standard" products. We are sure, that once the demand grows we will see an improvement in pricing. 

Material produced from recycled paper, PE etc, are more widely available, one offering of a semi gloss paper,is also supplied on a backing produce from 15% recycled product, these have lower MOQ and are less price sensitive, some with very little increase on a standard material.

Linerless technology / labelstocks are also coming to the market, the feeling around these is that they are aimed at the high volume runs, currently they will also need to be applied through applicators made to suit each material, so investment is also needed in applicator lines. So, these options could be expensive, but would remove the waste backing paper, which due the silicone is hard to recycle.         

It is fair to say that more options are talked about and "we" need to start using and supplying labels produced from some of the above, something we are currently looking at.

Carbon Capture & FSC - For our most of our none adhesive materials, we are now offsetting carbon via the Woodland Trust carbon capture scheme - more here -  https://www.securalabels.co.uk/blog/173-carbon-capture , while from January 2020 we will be FSC approved / compliant. 

New Arrivals - 
Its a new year, and we are looking forward to some new arrivals here, firstly a new anilox cleaner, this should allow better colour consistency and less "down" time. 

Next a new re-winder, which is a direct replacement for one of our old machines, and while will improve efficiency, more importantly, will make the operators life a little easier.    
It does though have the capability to use 19mm I/D cores, something we have struggled with before.

It seems only days since we looked back on 2018, yet here we are reviewing 2019!

The year for us was planned as consolidation on 2018 and 2017, but has turned out to be one of some growth. We will have exceeded the sales of 2018 by some 15% and returned a 4% improvement against Budget. This has been down to a massive effort from the staff who have not only worked long hours, but stepped up to help however and whenever they could. This resulted in October being our best ever sales Month, a 10% increase on our previous best set in 2014. November also exceeded many previous Months, as our 5th best Month, while the year should prove to be our second best ever in terms of sales. 

We will have received around 5,500 orders from nearly 400 individual customers, with over 500,000,000 labels being produced.    

Alongside thanking the staff, we also pass our thanks to all of our customers, much of the growth this year has been from our existing customer base and we thank you for your loyalty, also our suppliers for their continued support, backing and help, and also hospitality at several events this year.      

We have already started our next line of capital investment and will be receiving delivery of a new re-winder in early 2020, this the start of a proposed 18 - 24 Month program. We must thank our Board, shareholders and all at Pemberstone - https://www.pemberstone.com/ - for their backing and support of not only this investment, but more generally over the year.

Alongside the hard work and long hours, we have also enjoyed some other activity, our training days at cutter suppliers, Kocker and Beck, were both informative and enjoyable, while the visit of the Treat Truck (ice cream "van") in the heat of the Summer was most welcome. We also "enjoyed" or "endured" the go-cart based quiz afternoon, depending on your view! This year we have also "sponsored" a Christmas Tree at the Lichfield Cathedral Christmas Tree Festival, Jane and Rachel enjoyed an afternoon out to both "dress" the tree, and wonder around the wonderful building while also seeing the other trees in the festival.

Our support of the Re:Cycle Lichfield project was recognised as we won the Business Contribution to Volunteering award at the Support Staffordshire Star Awards night. On behalf of Re:Cycle Lichfield, we again hosted the feed stop on their sportive cycle ride, which saw over 200 riders call in... not all at once!, and we were most pleased to welcome several friendly faces from suppliers, customers and competitors among them.   

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwp0dTVPiUU           

 

    

We are pleased to report that the majority of our none adhesive product will now be Carbon Captured, with the CO2 released from the production of the material offset via the Woodland Trust Carbon Capture Tree Planting scheme and administrated through our suppliers Premier Paper, we hope to join a tree planting event with them both very soon.

This is a small step, but along with our efforts to be able to offer more sustainable and environmentally friendly materials, one we hope to expand on.

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/

We will be looking at our own emissions during 2020 and looking at how we can start to "offset" these, this covering our energy use, transport of goods and travel by staff. 

 

  

It`s that time of year when we turn to thoughts of Christmas closing and last order dates. We will be closing for the Christmas Holidays at 12.00 pm on the 23rd December 2019 and reopen at 8.00 am on 2nd January 2020.

Our last day for dispatch is likely to be Friday 20th December 2019, this will largely depend on our Couriers working pattern, while the first dispatch for 2020 is expected to be Friday the 3rd Janaury.

While it is difficult to advise exactly* when our cut off will be to guarantee pre-Christmas** delivery of labels, we would advise that orders are placed as soon as possible. Previous years have seen orders placed as early as the 2nd December fall to January, and we would envisage that similar could happen this year, if December follows the same order in take of October and November. November is busy and we would not want to panic people in to ordering sooner than they need, so if you are placing orders during November that are required in December, please advise such. 

Our order confirmations should give you our estimated dates, please contact us should orders be more urgent.      

(* - with many processes and presses, it can be one machine is very busy and orders be delayed, while another maybe quiet and therefore orders produced quicker than anticipated.)    

(** - as at December 10th we are dating orders to be delivered w/c 6th Janaury 2020 - it maybe some orders do get produced before Christmas, but we cannot promise.)

 

With orders for October and forward into November still arriving in unprecedented numbers, causing us to be working extended days and weekends, taking an afternoon out was not an easy thing to do, but our "team building" event was booked, the sun was shinning and anticipation was high!  

The staff where unaware of the details of the event, but following the short trip to Moira furnace, adjacent to the home of Secura Labels for some years before our move to Measham, the details of the event where given out, a Go Cart based quiz........ 

The 3 teams of 5 headed to CBT, supplier of the carts for day, a quick briefing and the first team heading off, the rest of the staff enjoying a nice piece of cake and drink. Unfortunately neither Tom or Steve had quite understood the "team" aspect and both had soon disappeared into the distance, only to be seen again when the remainder of the team finished. Jane and Chet (Simon making up the numbers) did well, in fact scoring highest in the quiz and recording the second fastest time to be "crowned" the winners!

Team two, Rachel, Richard, Chris, Steve and Andy, recorded the second best quiz score, and second fastest time, which when combined places them last.

Team three, Becky, Ian, Steve, Tim, with Tom having a second go as "punishment" for leaving his first team behind, placed the fastest time by 10 minutes, but by far the worst quiz score 11.5 out of 15. Their fast cart time though placed them second.

We did expect some aching bodies the following morning, and there where, but plenty of smiles where spotted during the afternoon - some pictures can be seen HERE.

Thanks to Moira Tea Room and CBT, and the staff for being such sports!

Following a break in 2017, we returned to Brussels this year to see what Label Expo 2019 had to offer. We ended up having a non-stop 3 days, early rise on Wednesday to catch our flight and following a slight delay, home in time for bed on Friday, with not much downtime in between. The show was as busy as ever, and we spent the first day catching up with suppliers and bumping to competitors as we wondered the 9 halls. To be fair there was no stand out "new kit", but it was apparent that machines seem to be getting wider, and the Hybrid press, a digital option running on a conventional press, looked to be more common. 

Some new materials from Herma looked to be of interest, and we hope this means we can offer a bio-degradable adhesive very soon, they also have some other "green" offerings and we await sample rolls so we can run some "live" jobs.

The evenings where as busy as the daytime, and Richard and Simon thank Fasson (Avery Dennison) for their hospitality on Wednesday night, and Flexo Concepts, Focus Label Machinery and Cheshire Anilox for theirs on Thursday, along with Herma, Kocher and Beck, Armor, Rotometrics and more who made the daytime a little easier.

Please keep an eye on our "blog" - https://securalabels.blogspot.com/ - where we aim to post more on the trip.              

We were very pleased last night to win the Business Contribution to Volunteering award at the Support Staffordshire Star Awards. Thanks to Lichfield Bid for presenting and sponsoring the award and to all at Lichfield Re:Cycle for the nomination. We have supported Lichfield Re:Cycle for many years, supplying promotional labels, sponsoring their venture into Pedal Car racing and provided the location and food for the feed stop on the 2017 and 2018 Ride Lichfield Sportives.

Re:Cycle supply bicycles to those who other wise may not be able to afford one, allowing access to work, gaining independence and the ability to attend social events, great helping many people. Many of the bikes have outlived their current homes and from their small workshop, they clean and refurbish these bikes ready for new owners. Many of the workshop volunteers themselves have found routes back to full time employment or have found/gained new skills and it has been great to see the success of the project and its many volunteers.

The group also provide and support many cycle rides and events throughout the year. In June 2019 the project gained charitable status.    

https://www.supportstaffordshire.org.uk/ 

https://lichfieldbid.co.uk/ 

https://lichfieldrecycle.org.uk/

There is much in the industry connected press and on social media regarding biodegradable and compostable self adhesives (labels), with many stating that they can now supply such. This adhesive was first brought to our notice in Summer 2018, we did indeed quote some work using this, however, before we had chance to even obtain sample material, the product was withdrawn. It appeared, to our understanding, that one of the components was in very short supply and so commercial supply was not possible.

Recently we noted that the product was being "advertised", to be fair not by the manufacturer, but by label printers and brokers. We, like many, inquired regarding cost, supply etc..... being surprised to be advised the product was not available. It seems that the product is still only available in limited supply, and only to those who, in the short window in 2018, manged to place orders. We are hopeful that at the forthcoming Label Expo others may be announcing similar products and so we to will be able to offer such materials. We do note though that if you were expecting the label could be placed in your garden compost bin, you may be disappointed, as approval is gained through the product composting in industrial compost units, of which, we are told., there are none in the UK! 

For many years it was felt that the small amount of adhesive on labels in your average household waste would fall under the allowed contamination levels, this view point has change though and the general advice, is that you should not recycle anything with a label -  "Therefore, stickers and product with stickers on it should not be placed in the recycling bin. Also avoid putting envelopes with sticky address labels on them in the recycling. The only exception, is Post-It Sticky Notes which have been engineered to break downs easily during the recycling process" To be honest each time we ask the question we get a slightly different answer.

The "green" options - we can very easily and at not more more cost, get material that is made from fully recycled product, there are products made from grape, apple and even marble waste, these though are more expensive. You may wish to review your labels, can you use a smaller a size? Would a paper based label work instead of a PP, PE Vinyl (Plastic) option? We would be happy to discuss these options with you.   

We will keep you posted, as the "Blue Planet" effect and in general more environmentally friendly products are demanded, then hopefully we, as an industry, will be able to offer such products.          

                

       

We were once again happy to welcome cyclists on the Ride Lichfield Cycle Sportives during Sunday 23rd June. The two routes, 100k and 60k, attracted nearly 200 riders who we managed to feed and water. This year we pulled in the help of local bike shop, Pickerings, to assist with any mechanical issues, while printer Ian, a keen photographer, attend the event with other members of Swadlincote Camera Club, the results can be seen HERE, you may also spot Simon in some of the pictures. In his role as a volunteer with event organisers Re:Cycle Lichfield, Simon played a large part in the planning of the routes, basing some on his regular cycle commutes.

The event, in its third year, also saw the "9 Chimes" ride on Friday, which sees riders try to beat the 9.00 O'clock chimes of Lichfield Cathedral and on Saturday incorporated the 6th running, sorry, riding, of the Lichfield Jolly, a family ride through Lichfield. This ride, attracting 50 plus cyclists of all ages, as usual ended at a local hostelry and also celebrated the organisation gaining Charitable status.

The rides are set to once again take place in June 2020 and if you would like any further details, please ask Simon next time you speak to him.