A tipped over jar of quarters next to a stack of quarters surrounded by green plants.

Sustainable, Simple, Cost-Saving: Wasteless Lamination

Organizations that laminate secure identities and cards in high volumes are constantly seeking ways to reduce lamination consumables costs without compromising card security and durability. Simultaneously, they are also seeking new sustainable product offerings that help them meet government standards for environmental responsibility.

Wasteless lamination technology meets both of these demands and offers consumers a cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative to traditional lamination methods.

But Just What Is “Wasteless” Lamination?

In the simplest of terms, wasteless lamination refers to card lamination technology that significantly reduces the amount of waste byproduct typically produced by traditional card lamination processes.

Diving a little deeper, a typical (non-wasteless) lamination consumable consists of lamination patches adhered to a strip of clear film known as “carrier film” that connects two supply rolls or cores. The carrier film only serves as a “carrier” of the overlaminate patches until they can be applied to cards during the lamination process. The first supply roll consists of new laminate patches adhered to carrier film that is wrapped around a supply core. The second roll consists only of an empty “take-up” core. When the laminate from the first roll has been adhered to the card, the take-up core then “takes up” the leftover carrier film. 

After the supply roll has been depleted of laminate patches and the take-up core has been filled with subsequent leftover carrier film, you’re left with a lot of unnecessary waste: two cores and a full roll of used carrier film — none of which are easily recycled.      

In contrast, wasteless lamination technology aims to reduce this level of needless waste by eliminating the need for carrier film and subsequent take-up core. With wasteless lamination, overlaminate patches are attached to one another in a continuous stream of material on a single roll, without an underlying carrier. As each patch is detached from its supply roll and adhered to a card, the lamination cycle is completed. Once the supply roll has been depleted, all that’s left is the single empty core that once contained the overlaminate material. Because no carrier film exists, no used carrier film waste is produced.

A traditional overlaminate roll with lamination patches, carrier film and take-up core. A wasteless lamination roll with no carrier film or take-up core required.

Where Do Cost Savings Come In?

As there are more materials involved in traditional lamination, there are also costs associated with the building, assembling, packaging and shipping of those materials. Of these materials, the manufacturing of carrier film is the greatest expense. As a result, traditional lamination supplies are higher priced to defray their cost.

Without the need for carrier film, wasteless lamination technology substantially reduces the cost to produce durable lamination consumables. As a result, suppliers are able to pass these savings on to consumers and offer more attractive pricing for wasteless overlaminates than is possible for traditional lamination supplies. In fact, wasteless lamination can reduce lamination consumables costs by as much as 40 percent for organizations that laminate cards and IDs in high volumes.

What Are the Environmental Benefits?

Traditional lamination methods using the additional core and carrier film produce a considerable amount of waste that ultimately ends up in landfills. What’s more, most traditional lamination solutions consume significant energy to achieve and maintain optimal operating temperature. However, choosing wasteless lamination solutions that were specifically engineered to conserve energy are your best bet to lessen environmental impact.

Moreover, as societies become more eco-aware, governments have begun to mandate that organizations comply with ever-increasing green initiatives. For companies, universities and government agencies that produce high volumes of laminated cards and IDs, energy-conserving wasteless lamination is an excellent way to demonstrate their environmental responsibility. For those pursuing environmental management certifications such as ISO 14001, wasteless lamination alternatives bring them one step closer to such achievements.

How Do I Select the Right Solution?

For additional detail on the cost-saving and environmental benefits of wasteless lamination as well as a comprehensive checklist of criteria for choosing the right solution for your organization, we invite you to download our informative white paper: Sustainable, Simple, Cost-Saving: Wasteless Lamination. Please also visit our website to learn more about HID Global® wasteless lamination solutions: The HID® FARGO® HDP6600 retransfer printer and the HID FARGO DTC5500LMX direct-to-card printer – or contact us at: [email protected].

Debbie Kappl is a Senior Product Marketing Manager with HID Global and brings over 20 years of experience marketing hardware and software security technologies spanning ID card printing, host access and integration, and B2B supply chain management and payment solutions. Prior to joining HID in 2015, Debbie served as a senior marketer, product evangelist and educator in both product marketing and sales support management roles for U.S. Bank and Attachmate Corporation. She is based in Minneapolis, MN.