comostable pressure sensitive adhesive for tape and labels used behind an eco friendly label

Pressure sensitive adhesive enables compostable labels and tape

The packaging industry has lately been adopting more sustainable processes and greener materials. This is due to national and international regulations, buyers ́ desire for eco-friendly products and general trend towards increased use of renewable materials. This has led to development of PSA adhesive (pressure sensitive adhesive) that allows for compostable labels and tape.

Motivation for biodegradable adhesive labels and tape

Increased plastic pollution in soil and marine environments as well as micro plastic pollution have encouraged development of compostable chemistries. Compostable PSA adhesive allows for biodegradable adhesive tape and labels in, for example, food packaging.

Benefits of pressure sensitive tapes & labels with compostable PSA adhesive

PSA adhesives have long traditions in producing pressure sensitive tapes and labels. Pressure sensitive adhesive is non-reactive, and additional pressure activates the bonding properties. The activation does not require heat, water or solvents, which makes pressure sensitive adhesive tape and labels ideal for fast paced production.

Superior sustainability of biodegradable adhesive labels and tape

PSA adhesive for compostable labels and tape has the advantage of being even more environmentally-friendly than the conventional adhesives for labels and tapes. Compostable adhesives use natural polymers which can be broken to CO2 and nutrients either in industrial or domestic composting processes. The benefits brought along by compostable pressure sensitive adhesives include the following

  • No micro plastic pollution: as compostable PSA adhesives break into CO2 and nutrients, the process does not result in micro plastic pollution.
  • Recycling materials: the nutrients that result from the composting process are suitable for enriching soil and promoting farming activities. They can also reduce the use of landfill sites.
  • 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 such as labels and tape.
  • Compliance with national and international regulations: also regulations set for packaging are changing towards sustainability: for example the UK Plastic Pact states that all food packaging must be 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. This includes labels and tapes that are present in the packaging.

Get more information on compostable pressure sensitive adhesive systems by contacting us!

When to opt for a compostable PSA adhesive for tapes and labels?

A compostable pressure sensitive adhesive can remarkably increase eco-friendliness of a product. Nevertheless, to benefit from the biodegradability of the adhesive, the other components must be compostable, too. For example, compostable PSA as a labeling adhesive is beneficial only when the label itself can be broken down in a composting process.

In case you are interested in labeling adhesives that allow for increased recycling and decreased environmental impact, but you are not making use of compostable labels or tape, you might consider water or alkali soluble pressure sensitive adhesives. These are disperse in a suitable solution and remarkably increase packaging recyclability. Another option would be a bio-based adhesive which contains natural ingredients, which reduces the environmental impact, but is not a 100% compostable.

Compostable according to EN 13432

Although compostable adhesives are rather new to the market, there are some standards and tests that assess and prove the compostability of the systems. Currently, probably the most important compostability standard for eco-friendly packaging adhesives is European Norm EN 13432. This standard evaluates adhesives in four tests: biodegradation, disintegration, ecotoxicity and heavy metals. The norm not only applies to pressure sensitive adhesives but also others such as biodegradable heat seal systems.

According to EN 13432, an adhesive is compostable when:

  • 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 adhesive composting process can be used to enrich soil or are not harmful to plant growth in the area;
  • The product ́s heavy metals do not exceed the strict limits set in the standard.


More information on PSA adhesive for compostable tape and labels

Compostable pressure sensitive adhesives for tapes and labels are the future of the packaging industry. In case you are interested in the possibilities and benefits that come along with these PSA adhesives, contact us! Our experts are happy to help you move towards greener packaging.


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