Often invisible and yet irreplaceable in many areas of the world of packaging: glue. The desire for more sustainability doesn’t cast the same limelight on adhesives that it shines on packaging, which is far easier to notice for consumers. But here, too, much can be done to reduce carbon emissions and optimise production to be more circular.
As of now, adhesives are often irritants in the process of recycling. Whether they make sure that labels stay on paper packagings or form a sticky layer between the tray and the cling foil around a wrapped cheese: The recyclability and the production process of the adhesive must feature in future thinking about sustainability.
One example of how to achieve this is German adhesive manufacturer Jowat. The company has recognised the demand for sustainable adhesive solutions and adapted their own portfolio to meet it. With the “Green Adhesives” series, the glue manufacturers offer both adhesives with a large content of bio-based raw materials as well as very energy efficient, process-optimised and food safe solutions for gluing.
NATURAL ADHESIVE FORCE THROUGH RESIN
For example, the Jowatherm Grow 853.20 glue is produced from basic pine resin, and its certified content of more than 30 percent bio-based raw materials combined with a working temperature starting at 130 °C means it makes a large contribution to saving resources. An even higher content of bio-based raw materials, more than 50 percent according to the company, is found in Jowatherm Grow 853.22. This adhesive is also suited for a very broad range of adhesive applications and is appropriate for securely gluing together demanding surfaces. Its high flexibility under cold conditions makes it a sustainable solution for deep-freeze applications.
Energy can also be saved during gluing through lowering working temperatures, if this is possible for the product and storage conditions. The melt adhesive Jowat-Toptherm 851.99 for example has a working temperature of only 99 °C, which is sure to be of interest when working with deep frozen food or other heat sensitive food stuffs.
The use of glues and adhesives does not mean forgoing sustainable solutions. But developments like these can only be the beginning. A 2020 study by the Fraunhofer IFAM sees developments in the sector of bio-based adhesives in a positive light, but attests a “huge need of further study to reach the performance level of fully synthetic adhesives”.