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

Pressure sensitive packaging adhesive is now compostable

Especially packaging industry has lately been adopting more sustainable processes and greener materials 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 compostable pressure sensitive adhesive for tape and labels.

Increased plastic pollution in soil and marine environments as well as micro plastic pollution have encouraged development of compostable chemistries for packaging industry. Compostable pressure sensitive adhesive for tape and labels allows for biodegradable food packaging when combined with the right, also biodegradable materials.

Benefits of compostable pressure sensitive adhesive for tape and labels

Pressure sensitive adhesives (PSA) have long traditions in producing tape and labels. PSA adhesive is non-reactive and is activated when pressure is applied. The activation does not require heat, water or solvents, making pressure sensitive adhesive tapes and labels ideal for fast paced production.

Compostable pressure sensitive adhesive for tape and labels 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 pressure sensitive adhesives break into CO2 and nutrients, the process does not result in micro plastic pollution.
  • Recycling materials: the nutrients produced in the composting process can be used to enrich soil and promote 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.
  • 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.

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

When to opt for a compostable PSA adhesive?

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 is European Norm EN 13432 which evaluates adhesives in four tests: biodegradation, disintegration, ecotoxicity and heavy metals. This standard not only applies to pressure sensitive adhesives but also others such as biodegradable hot melt 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 compostable PSA adhesive for tape and labels

Compostable pressure sensitive adhesives for tapes and labels are the future of 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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