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Removable labels that are solvent resistant

Oliver StocktonWritten by Oliver Stockton, Managing Director, CILS



If you need removable labels for solvent bottle recycling as part of your chemical tracking and inventory system, there are some important things to consider.

Who needs removable solvent resistant labels?

The process chemistry departments of life science, pharmaceutical, therapeutics and biotech companies are just a few examples of where any of the following solvents are used commercially:

  • Acetone
  • Methanol
  • Acetonitrile
  • Hexanes
  • THF
  • IPA
  • Ethyl Acetate

These solvents are also common in other industries but for laboratory best practice, there needs to be batch traceability when the solvents are decanted from large drums to smaller batch containers.

Why do the labels need to be removable?

The lab solvents are kept in glass and plastic bottles for ease of handling and the labels often have a tracking bar code on them. The end-user removes the label on emptying the bottle prior to recycling.

Does the type of bottle I am labelling make a difference?

There is a big difference between the surface energy of glass and plastics which has an impact on the adhesion performance of the removable adhesive. 

Glass is the best surface due to its high surface energy. The surface energy of plastics is lower and varies tremendously depending on the type of plastic and can result in removable labels not adhering very well. 

Whether glass or plastic, you must use a correctly specified removable label. You do not need to try figure it out, let us know the type of bottle you are labelling, and we will guide you.


What are my options for solvent resistance?

Paper labels have poor water tolerance and therefore will have no chance resisting solvents. Even if the label survived, there is a good chance the solvent will soak through the paper and destroy the adhesive. 

Polyesters have excellent all-round solvent durability and are a great cost-effective way of labelling and tracking solvents. You can print them yourself using a thermal transfer printer, but make sure that you use the most solvent resistant ribbon to print your labels. There are many ribbons to choose from with varying levels of solvent resistance, so let us know which solvents your labels will come into contact with, and we will recommend the best options.

For the highest level of solvent resistance that you can print yourself, we manufacture a polyester with a special CILS computer imprintable coating, that when printed by thermal transfer using a special ribbon, will resist acetone, xylene and other harsh organic solvents.

If you do not want to print the labels yourself, we can print them for you and protect all the printed data with CILS Print Guarding. This will provide you with a level of solvent resistance greater than you can achieve yourself. Just provide us with the data and we do the rest.

What can I print on a solvent resistant removable label?

Anything that you currently print using a thermal transfer printer can be printed and if you want, colorful professional print including logos, etc.  We can provide the labels ready printed for you with the same level of solvent resistance.

Many of our customers print 8-digit ID numbers made up of letters and numbers which are embedded into a 128 barcode or 2D data matrix code, or a QR code that links to a web-hosted page that contains the COSHH chemical safety information.

What size labels can I have?

We can produce solvent resistant removable labels in any size. 10mm x 20mm and 15mm x 35mm is popular.

How many labels do I need to buy?

Although providing labels with the level of solvent resistance detailed above with a removable adhesive is quite unique to CILS International, there is no minimum order quantity. Whether you need 500 labels to last a year or 5,000 a month, we have price breaks to suit.

Just let us know what you want to label

Whether you are a Therapeutics company in Cambridge, Massachusetts, or Life Sciences company in Singapore, we have a durable, removable label that will help your lab processes. Contact us to find out what your labelling options are.

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