Biodegradable hot melt adhesive systems reduce environmental impact
The growth in demand for hot melt adhesives has been stimulated for increased packaging needs especially in markets such as South America and Asia-Pacific. The increased demand has also lead to the development of biodegradable hot melt adhesive systems 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. These adhesives use materials derived from renewable resources and they can be broken down by bacteria and other microorganisms.
Why biodegradability makes hot melts 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 melts 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 these adhesives 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 compostable hot melt adhesive: 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 adhesive beads behave 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.
Compostable materials according to EN 13432
When opting for biodegradable hot melt adhesives, 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 test: biodegradation, disintegration, ecotoxicity and heavy metals.
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.
Discover the biodegradable possibilities for your products and process
As biodegradability of hot melt adhesives is becoming more and more desired, they 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 adhesive manufacturers who are happy to provide you with the most suitable biodegradable hot melts.