packaging film with biodegradable heat seal adhesive

Biodegradable heat seal adhesives reduce environmental impact

Heat seal adhesives are very common in the packaging industry. They are either liquids or hot melts which are initially applied to the substrate and re-activated later using heat. The heat seal bonding market is currently experiencing a shift towards biodegradable heat seal adhesives. The shift is encouraged by the fact that micro plastics and plastic pollution in soil and marine environments has become a great concern for industries, and food packaging accounts for a great deal of this pollution. 

The biodegradable heat seal adhesives are suitable for example for paper, biofilm and fiber-based materials. They allow for compostable, plastic-free food and other packaging which  reduces environmental impact and helps minimize microplastic pollution.

Applications of biodegradable heat seal adhesive systems

The biodegradable heat seal adhesives are suitable for paper, biofilm and fiber-based materials which are all common in the packaging industry. The biodegradable seals can be either hot melts or liquids which are applied to the paper or film and let dry. Much like pressure sensitive adhesive, the final heat seal glue forms the final bond when it becomes exposed to heat and pressure, hence the name “heat seal”.

Traditionally, heat seal bonding is common in flexible packaging, food packaging and paper converting. The biodegradable heat seal adhesive systems are also suitable for most of these applications. Additionally, the biodegradable heat seal glue allows for modification to suit special purposes, various application methods and specific processes. Contact us for more information and find out whether biodegradable seals are the solution for your packaging.

Benefits of biodegradable seals in packaging and paper

It goes without saying that the greatest benefit of biodegradable heat sealing adhesive systems is their environmentally-friendliness and plastic-free formulation. Nevertheless, the heat seal glue brings along also other benefits including:

  • No micro plastic pollution: as biodegradable heat seal adhesives break into CO2 and nutrients, the process results in no plastic pollution.
  • Recycling materials: the nutrients resulting from the biodegradation process can be used to enrich soil and promote farming activities. They can also lead to reduced use of landfill sites.
  • Compliance with national and international regulations: also regulations set for packaging have taken a more sustainable direction which encourages the use of biodegradable heat seal glue. For example the UK Plastic Pact states that all food packaging must be 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
  • Meeting consumer and brand owner needs: consumers and brand owners are ever-more conscious about the environment. Many aim at eliminating plastic pollution and replacing plastics with biodegradable materials and products.

Measuring biodegradability of heat seal glue according to EN 13432

Biodegradable adhesives have been present in the packaging industry for a while now, and  there are some standards that define compostability. One of these is the European Norm EN 13432. This standard evaluates four aspects of the adhesives: biodegradation, disintegration, ecotoxicity and heavy metals. Passing these four tests means the heat seal adhesive is biodegradable according to the standard as presented in the following table.

TestBiodegradable if…
Biodegradation 90% of the total mass of the adhesive is converted to CO2 within 180 days
Disintegration The germination rate and plant biomass in the compost are more than 90% of those in the corresponding blank compost
Ecotoxicity The products of adhesive composting process can be used to enrich soil or are not harmful to plant growth in the area
Heavy metals The heavy metals in the heat seal adhesive do not exceed the strict limits set in the standard

Get in touch with a supplier of biodegradable packaging adhesives

Are you curious for biodegradable heat seal adhesive solutions that allow for sustainable packaging solutions? Do not hesitate to contact us for more information on the chemistry, specific products or specialized suppliers!

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