From banana leaves as packaging to aluminum cans instead of plastic water bottles to the elimination of plastic rings in six packs to the full transition to reusable materials, global companies are making big strides in the use of environmentally friendly packaging. The positive impacts that these efforts have on the world are huge:
- – Keeping approximately 15 billion single-use plastic bags out of landfills and oceans. (Aldi)
- – Reducing plastic use by 1,200 tons per year. (Carlsberg)
- – Contributing to the reduction of Vietnam’s current 2,500 tons of plastic waste per day. (Vietnamese Supermarkets)
- – Eliminating 8,000 metric tons of virgin plastic and 11,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. (PepsiCo)
- As citizens of the world, these are benefits we can all get behind – and at CGM we certainly do! But we can’t help but wonder – what impact will the transition to eco-friendly packaging have on the adhesive industry? Below are a few of our predictions and insights:
Opportunity for Innovation
What happens when you change your packaging material? You very well might need a new adhesive to hold it together! What worked for one application may not work for another. So as companies alter their packaging processes and the materials they use, they’ll be faced with the challenge of finding the proper adhesive to make it all stick together. And it might mean getting creative to make that happen!
That also means that manufacturers will have a greater need for consultative services from their adhesive supplier. If you’re changing your packaging methods and materials, or even thinking about the opportunities that environmentally friendly packaging might bring, you need to work closely with your adhesive distributor to determine the best adhesive type and the proper equipment to make your new solution effective.
What does that mean for adhesive suppliers like us? We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and put our thinking caps on! As we’re working with new materials, we’re gaining a whole new set of knowledge (and this excites us!). The opportunity for innovation in the glue industry is unfolding before our eyes and we’re eager to get involved.
Development of Eco-Friendly Adhesives
Before we give a round of applause to the eco-friendly packaging materials, we can’t forget the adhesive itself! There are many ways that adhesives can, should, and are changing to become more eco-friendly.
Currently, most hot melt adhesives are not biodegradable. However, most water-based adhesives, such as EY14, 4278X and PA1150, already are. And even though the hot melt adhesive isn’t biodegradable itself, they are specifically manufactured so that they can easily separate from paper fibers, allowing the material it’s adhering to be recycled.
But what’s next? There is already evidence that biodegradable adhesives are on the horizon. BioTAK currently has a large line of biodegradable and compostable adhesives and we expect to see more of these adhesives crop up in the not-so-distant future.
Other Environmental Impacts
Another often overlooked benefit of effective adhesives is that they are vital in producing less waste. When adhesives are strong, reliable and do their job, the containers their bonds help secure last longer, eliminating the need to dispose of them and create more. The longer the lifespan of the package, the less waste there will be. And glue is key in making that happen! It’s just one more thing that motivates us to generate long-lasting solutions.
Are you making eco-friendly changes to your packaging? We’d like to hear about it! Our team is excited for the opportunity to collaborate with you on environmentally friendly packaging and help determine the best adhesive for your specific application. Contact us today to get started.