Three Things You Need to Know about Pressure Sensitive Labels

by Kimberly Young

You may often ask, what are pressure sensitive labels?  Simply put, they are stickers.  Pressure sensitive labels (PSL — not to be confused with your seasonal pumpkin spice latte 😊) are used everywhere from food containers, beer can or bottles, toys, cannabis bottles, stand-up pouches, and so much more.

But what is a pressure sensitive label?

Let’s start from the beginning by explaining what a pressure sensitive label is.  A pressure sensitive label is made of three layers: a face stock, an adhesive, and a liner.

  • Facestock is the portion of the label ink is applied during printing. The material can be made of paper or film.
  • Adhesive is what makes the label stick to the product or packaging. The label is manufactured to have the adhesive already applied to the facestock when you receive the roll of labels.
  • Liner is made of paper or film and makes up the label’s backing. Paper-based liners are strong yet easily perforated or torn if needed.  Film liners are much more robust and slightly more expensive.

When a label is made, these three layers are merged to create a label material that is printed on, laminated, die-cut, and peeled off to be applied to a product.  Essentially it is a label that you can stick to a surface without adding glue or solvent.

What are the benefits of a pressure sensitive label?

You can create a pressure sensitive label for the use case you need.  Does your label need to go on a wet bottle, or need to handle extreme heat, or does it need to be removable?  These are conversations that your label supplier needs to understand when providing material recommendations for the packaging of your product.  Not only do you have options with the type of adhesives, but also with the face stock materials.  We offer classic materials like white, metalized, and clear (film or paper), but we also can provide specialized materials to fit your need.

Pressure Sensitive labels can easily be applied by hand, using a small desktop label applicator, or they can be applied using sophisticated machinery found on filling lines.  Being able to start your new business hand applying labels and not having to refit your labels as your brand grows allows for one last change needed within your business.

You’d be surprised to see how many products utilize pressure sensitive labels in the stores that you frequent.

Are pressure sensitive labels sustainable?

Companies are getting serious about sustainability.  Your product labels are just one piece of the puzzle.  That said, Inland has sustainable options for pressure sensitive labels.  First and foremost, we have our PureWash technology, which is perfect for products that use PET bottles.  PureWash is our material that is built with a washaway adhesive that allows the label to disengage from the bottle during the caustic bath in the recycling process, allowing the label to float while the clean PET flakes sink.  This allows the PET flakes to be regrindregrounded as rPET.

Our second sustainable option is our clear pressure sensitive label material with 90% post-consumer recycled (PCR) content in the face stock.  This material is best used on rigid containers and applications where clarity and resistance against water, oil, and chemicals are important.

With that said, we are seeing our material suppliers providing advancements with adhesives and facestocks every day, expanding the options for more sustainable pressure sensitive labels as we see brands continue to drive their sustainability goals forward.

Pressure sensitive labels can fit the need of almost all products in the marketplace.  There are a lot of options out there; let the experts help!  Collaborating with your label supplier to ensure you are using the right material for your product application is the key to product’s packaging success.