Color Label Solutions

Color Label Solutions

Monday, December 21, 2020

Water Dispersable Labels

According to the dictionary, Sustainability is “avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.”  We’re pleased to announce a new label material that is sustainable.


Dispersa® is a water-soluble paper, designed for pressure sensitive labels that disperses completely and rapidly in water with light agitation; including any imprinted or handwritten graphics.  Watch Neenah’s introductory video here:

According to Kelli Clark, Product Marketing Manager for Performance Labels, “Convenience, Safety and Sustainability are the key differences for Dispersa for our end user customers.  Safety as the labels can communicate important information, like use by and expiration dates, that will wash off completely after use avoiding confusion or improper re-use; Convenience as the labels do not need to be removed prior to washing; and Sustainability as Dispersa leaves zero waste behind and is 99% bio-based, per the USDA’s BioPreferred™ program.”


In my discussion with Kelli, I learned more about the Biodegradability of Dispersa.  According to Kelli, “Dispersa has been tested following ISO standards 17556/14852 and meets the requirements for biodegradability. Additionally, Dispersa has been tested for flushability and has successfully completed several studies indicating Dispersa can safely be flushed down the drain. Although this material will break down in soil, pursuing testing around compostability has not been an area of focus for Dispersa.”


Dispersa Certifications

When asked, what markets should consider using Dispersa, Kelli said, “Food rotation is a good market.  These labels tell retailers, food companies and consumers when to remove/pull expired product from the shelves. In addition, clothing ID or size labels are a good market as washing will remove the labels.  Reusable container labels are a good fit as well; and the labels will come off with washing.  Finally, Dispersa should work for companies who want to reduce the waste from their packaging.”

In my tests of Dispersa pressure sensitive labels, I found the material washed off quickly and easily in water.

Biodegradable Label in Water
Water Dispersible Label in Water

Also, I found the adhesive relatively aggressive on both plastic and glass:

Adhesive Test Of Biodegradable Label
Adhesive Test Of Biodegradable Label

I did find the print quality lower than our standard matte paper labels, but should be sufficient for many markets.  And by adding a statement about the water dispersibility of the labels, this material may support the branding of many of our customer’s products.  Plus I’ve learned that further development is ongoing to improve the print quality of this material.

Print Test Of Biodegradable Labels
Print Test Of Biodegradable Labels

When asked about the cost compared to standard matte paper labels, Kelli said, “Dispersa labels will be more expensive, but offer several key environmental benefits that are priceless to our planet.”  Another plus? The liner on these labels is biodegradable as well.

With a growing need for sustainability in packaging and labels, I’m excited to offer Dispersa labels to our customers.  Send us the size and number you need; and we’ll send you a quote. 

If you want more sustainable and water soluble, on-demand color labels, contact us.  We can help!

Guy Mikel

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