thoughts of sustainability of adhesives and sealants

The trend towards sustainability of adhesives and sealants

As the world’s population is growing and people are becoming more aware of the effects of the phenomenon, sustainability is gaining more and more share throughout industries: also the sustainability of adhesives and sealants is becoming paramount.

Sustainability of adhesives and sealants is a hot topic for many reasons, the most important being:

  • Improved health and safety throughout the product’s lifecycle: sustainable adhesives and sealants contain little to no solvents meaning that less or no VOC (volatile organic compounds) are released during the application and curing, nor in the finished product.
  • Decreased environmental impact and carbon footprint: the absence of solvents results in less impact on the environment due to lighter weight, less product needed and VOC emissions reduced to the minimum.
  • Rules and regulations towards more sustainable products: sustainability being a priority in development of new products and systems, also governments strive towards the trend by setting rules and regulations for products. For example the VOC emissions of chemical products have long been strictly controlled in the USA and EU, and gain more and more importance in other markets such as Asia and South America.

Sustainability of adhesives pushes towards innovation

Sustainability of adhesives and sealants has many advantages, but achieving them requires modification of existing products and inventing new innovative technologies. Sustainable adhesives can be divided into three groups:

  1. Solventless adhesives: nowadays many adhesives are made with less solvents by increasing the solid share. However, among other methods, 100% solid adhesives such as hot melt contain no solvents at all. Also isocyanate based solventless adhesives especially for lamination.
  2. Waterborne adhesives: waterborne adhesives are developed using water as the carrier substance instead of a solvent. This provides the product with reduced weight as well as eliminated the VOC emissions as well as minimizes the risk for fire during processing.
  3. Biobased adhesives: to call a glue biobased, most of the materials used in int must be biobased such as starch, vegetable oil, resins, lignins and proteins. These materials guarantee reduced carbon footprint of the products.

All the aforementioned adhesives are considered carbon neutral and can be used in a wide variety of industries such as construction, packaging and medical sector.

4 trending green adhesives

The demand for so called green adhesives is ever-growing and encourages new ways of sustainability to be applied to adhesives. Below you can find four types of sustainable adhesives that are expected to experience a boost in demand in the coming years. For any enquiries for sustainable adhesives and sealants, we encourage you to contact us, share your project´s needs and let us help you find the manufacture to produce the system.

1. Renewable

Renewable adhesives refer to those made of materials such as beeswax and plants, and have no petroleum derivatives in their formulations. Not only reduce they carbon footprint but also contribute to overall sustainability of a great number of applications including paper lamination, carton sealing and bottle labeling.

2. Recyclable

When an adhesive is recyclable, once the end-use product has come to the end of its service life, the adhesive can be melted and recollected without producing any adhesive waste or residue. Recyclable adhesives are generally used in the automotive industry as well as for bonding glass, aluminum and steel.

3. Biodegradable

Biodegradable technology brings the sustainability of adhesives to the next level. The biodegradable adhesives are designed to be broken down by bacteria and other microorganisms. The degrading process produces water, carbon dioxide and other natural gases defined by the environment. These adhesives are mainly used for paper and packaging, envelopes, hygiene products and medical devices.

4. Repulpable

In the paper and packaging industry, repulpable adhesives are likely to grow in popularity as they dissolve completely into water during paper repulping process. Used for instance in carbon boxes, envelopes and other paper products, repulpable adhesives are by far the most sustainable options as they completely dissolve without leaving any residue behind.

Sustainable sealants contribute to greener future

Also sealants experience a shift towards more sustainable formulations. The sustainable sealants are mainly created by increasing the solid share which means less solvent in the product. The reduced solvent results in a lighter weight product and less VOC emissions without compromising the properties of the sealant. Some of these products are made even more sustainable by not including isocyanates or silicones in the formula.

Choose for the required level of sustainability

Sustainability of adhesives and sealants is of great importance regardless the project or product. In case you need any assistance regarding sustainable adhesives and sealants, do not hesitate to contact us. Our experts are here to help, and happy to provide you with the best possible sustainable system for your needs.

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