What are Linerless Labels?


Linerless Labels are fast becoming a popular solution for tray packed products. Less downtime on label production lines, zero liner waste and increased print surface make them an ideal solution.

But what are linerless labels and how could they benefit your business?

We’re taking a deep-dive into linerless labels to discover exactly what they are and advise on the best products that could benefit from using linerless labels from Reflex.

Linerless Labels vs. Self-Adhesive

To understand linerless, we’ll first need to talk about another labelling option: self-adhesive.

Self-adhesive labels are used in many applications, from fresh food produce to bottled goods such as beer, wine and spirits. Self-adhesive is one of the most common label types that you will see on the products in your local supermarket, and can be used across multiple applications. Offering different durability specs and featuring a wide range of finishes.

These labels are produced with a backing paper or liner to protect the adhesive on the reverse of the label which is then discarded once the label is applied. To eliminate the extra waste that is produced by these types of labels, our Boston Reflex site has set up a liner recycling scheme and recycled thousands of tonnes of liner waste, which you can read about here.

Alternatively, linerless labels are produced without the need for backing paper or liner. The face of the label features a silicone strip and the underside features adhesive in the same location. This allows the labels to adhere to themselves. The label is then applied on the packaging in the same way as self-adhesive.

After the full reel of linerless labels have been applied to the packs, the only material left to recycle is the inner cardboard core. As a result, linerless provides many advantages and can be a more ‘sustainable label solution’.

The Benefits of Linerless Labels

  • 40% more labels per roll due to the absence of the backing paper
  • More labels per roll means less downtime on production lines
  • Increased space allows for larger labels
  • 40% reduction of storage space needed
  • High-speed application and coding of variable information
  • High-quality reverse printing – up to 4 colours
  • Double the surface print area allows for more space to feature additional information and promotional mechanics
  • Reduction of carbon footprint and shipping costs = more reels transported in any one load
  • Zero waste to landfill = saving money, time and vehicle emissions
  • Available in various thicknesses from 90-300gsm in synthetic or board materials
  • Approved sustainably sourced materials


Who should move to Linerless?

Costs, flexibility, label design, production times, durability and packaging type are just some of the factors that affect the overall decision about which labelling option is the most viable for your company.

Here at Reflex, we have teams of experts on hand who can advise you on the labelling solution best suited for your company.

There are multiple linerless label formats including:

  • Skin packs
  • Ready meals
  • Fruit and vegetable ‘lids’
  • Die cut and shaped
  • D & C wrapped
  • Top label
  • Salami

Each solution suiting a range of market sectors including meat and fish, oven and ready meals, fresh produce, salad pots and tubs, desserts and baked goods.

Most notably, an increasing amount of ready meal producers are now switching to linerless due to the recent board shortages. As a result, these brands are taking advantage of the full spectrum of benefits:

  • Ready meal sleeves come supplied on a roll
  • Fully automated application alleviates labour intensive manual application
  • Application speeds up to 150ppm
  • Option to add variable data as well as date coding for minimising waste

Reflex Linerless Technology

If you do decide to convert from self-adhesive to linerless, it can be a straightforward process if your printers have specialist linerless equipment already.

Reflex’s dedicated 24/7 linerless facility currently has four linerless Adhesive Coating machines running, with a further two to be installed in the coming months. Our Newcastle site is THE largest linerless producer in the UK!


Both aesthetically and in terms of functionality, linerless Labels can transform a product and make a significant difference to production and reducing carbon footprint, but don’t just take our word for it, read our latest case study:

Reflex in partnership with Ravenwood, recently helped pet food brand Bella & Duke transition from the use of self-adhesive labels to linerless which provided multiple advantages including a huge reduction in the company’s carbon footprint!

Read the full case study for more information.

Any questions about what is featured in this post?

We’re always happy to answer any questions or enquiries you may have.

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