biomass resulting from compostable adhesives

Compostable adhesives

Compostable adhesives for greener future

The increasing demand for greener bonding systems has stimulated the development of compostable adhesives which fall under the group of biodegradable systems. This technology allows for durable adhesive systems, which contribute to greener future and reduced environmental impact.

The compostable adhesives were first introduced to the food packaging industry as lamination adhesives, but their uses become wider and wider as the systems develop. Nowadays compostable adhesives are used for example in film lamination, flexible packaging and paper/film packaging.

Benefits of compostable adhesive technology

It goes without saying that compostable adhesives are a more sustainable option than conventional solvent based products, however, they come with more benefits:

  • No microplastic pollution: compostable adhesives are made of biodegradable materials which do not lead to microplastic pollution at any stage of their lifecycle.
  • Reduced waste processing costs: the fact that these adhesives break down to natural gases and biomass remarkably reduce the waste processing costs. Waste processing does not involve hazardous chemicals.
  • Soil enrichment through waste: the products of breaking down compostable adhesive can be used to enrich soil and so stimulate growth of plants.
  • In accordance with environmental planning: for example the UK Plastics Pact requires all plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. Other similar acts exist and then number increases constantly.

Next to the benefits that lead to reduced environmental impact, compostable adhesives also offer great business opportunities for adhesive manufacturers as well as adhesive users. Green products are an ever-growing trend, meaning that the demand increases by the day leading to greater need for both the adhesives and products which use the adhesives.

compostable adhesives in a bag of potato chips
Compostable adhesives allow for food packaging material to be converted into biomass and CO2.

How compostable adhesives work

The molecule structure of compostable adhesive systems resembles that of natural polymers, however, the compostable adhesive ingredients can be broken down by microorganisms such as bacteria, hence the name compostable. The systems can be suitable either for industrial or home composting processes, industrial being by far more common. These adhesives exist as liquid solutions and hot melt solutions.

During the composting process microorganisms use enzymes to break down the adhesive resulting in carbon dioxide, water and biomass. The products of the composting process are also beneficial, as they can be used for example for enriching soil. Thus, for example a pack of potato chips can be converted into biomass and carbon dioxide when it comes to the end of its lifecycle.

If you are looking to switching to compostable adhesives, do not hesitate to contact us. Our experts are happy to help you find the greener solution tailored for your product.

EN 13432 – the European standard for compostable materials

Adhesives that are wished to be classified as compostable according to EN 13432, must pass four tests: biodegradation, disintegration, ecotoxicity and heavy metals test.

According to EN 13432, and adhesive is compostable if:

  • 90% of the total mass of the adhesive is converted to CO2 within 180 days;
  • The heavy metals in the product do not exceed the strict limits set in the standard;
  • The products of broken down adhesive can be used to enrich soil or are not harmful to plant growth in the area;
  • The germination rate and plant biomass in the compost are more than 90% of those in the corresponding blank compost.

Looking for compostable adhesives?

As organizations and individuals take social and environmental responsibility more and more seriously, the demand for compostable adhesives is becoming greater. In case you are looking for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly adhesive for you application, contact us, and we will go the extra mile to guarantee you the best possible solution for your application.


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