Biodegradable hot melt adhesive systems reduce environmental impact
Hot melt adhesive is a type of thermoplastic adhesives which is brought to liquid state by applying heat. These adhesives are preferred in many industrial applications as they do not contain any solvents. To respond to the increased demand for greener packaging, biodegradable hot melt adhesive systems have been developed as a means of keeping up with the needs of the clients as well as reducing the environmental impact of using adhesives in packaging.
New technologies allow for biodegradable hot melt adhesives which have the usual properties of hot melts and are compostable. Biodegradable hot glue uses materials derived from renewable resources and it can be broken down by bacteria and other microorganisms.
Why biodegradability makes hot melt adhesive even better
In general, hot melt adhesives appear in solid form in room temperature, but become liquid when heat is applied. These 100% solid adhesives do not contain any solvents, which reduces their VOC values to close to zero.
Biodegradable hot melt adhesive systems give many manufacturers a competitive advantage, as environmental values are becoming more and more important. The use of compostable hot melt glue also reduces waste and results in savings in processing costs.
Biodegradable hot melt adhesive technologies
Biodegradable hot melt adhesives are used for example in packaging for take-away products, lamination for tissue paper and textiles as well as in boxes made of biobased materials. The use of biodegradable hot glue allows for 100% compostable packaging and paper products. The adhesives can be realized through several technologies which are under continuous development. Some of the currently available technologies include the following:
- Lactic acid based biodegradable hot melt adhesive: lactic acid based hot melt adhesives are 100% biodegradable and can be modified to perfection with help of additives.
- Water soluble biodegradable hot glue: these adhesives are practically not hot melts as they are resolved in water prior to application. The application does not require heat, which reduces the manufacturer´s electricity bill.
- Biodegradable hot melt beads: biodegradable beads behave like regular hot melt adhesive and can be applied with hot melt glue machinery and equipment, yet they do not require heat to adhere to substrates.
As the technology improves and the need for biodegradable hot melt adhesives is becoming ever-greater, new innovations are continuously developed. Therefore, even though it might seem there is no compostable hot melt for your application, it is always worth discovering the options. Do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to know more about the biodegradable possibilities for your process and products.
Lately several new biodegradable glue systems have been developed that conform to the standard EN 13432. These include pressure sensitive tape and label adhesives as well as heat seal bonding solutions.
Biodegradable materials according to EN 13432
When opting for biodegradable hot melt adhesive systems, it might be worth checking whether the adhesive complies with the European standard for compostable materials, EN 13432 . The standard assesses materials based on four tests: biodegradation, disintegration, ecotoxicity and heavy metals.
So, when is hot glue biodegradable? According to EN 13432, an adhesive is compostable if:
- 90% of the total mass of the adhesive is converted to CO2 within 180 days;
- The germination rate and plant biomass in the compost are more than 90% of those in the corresponding blank compost;
- The products of broken down adhesive can be used to enrich soil or are not harmful to plant growth in the area;
- The heavy metals in the product do not exceed the strict limits set in the standard.
Biodegradable hot melt adhesive manufacturers often claim their products are 100% biodegradable, however, the truth may be different. That is why checking for compliance with EN 13432 is often recommended. Note that even the standard does not guarantee the product is 100% biodegradable. However, it implies the product is biodegradable enough to pass the tests.
Discover biodegradable hot glue for your products and process
As biodegradability of hot melt adhesives is becoming more and more desired, the systems are under continuous development and new innovations are frequently brought to the market. The biodegradable hot melt adhesive systems are also often created in close cooperation with the end user to ensure the best possible performance. If you are considering biodegradable hot melt adhesives for your packaging or paper applications, feel free to contact us for more information on the possibilities. We also offer help in getting in touch with hot melt adhesive manufacturers who are happy to provide you with the most suitable biodegradable hot melts.