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Sustainable Adhesives Gain Importance for Flexible Packaging

Sustainable Adhesives Gain Importance for Flexible Packaging
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A new poll points to increasing importance of sustainable adhesives for companies using and making laminated flexible packaging. The poll was conducted by Rohm and Haas at the recent PACK EXPO in Chicago, which focused on sustainability throughout the event. Included among those surveyed were consumer goods companies, packagers, package designers, converters, materials suppliers, and machinery manufacturers.

"Results confirmed that sustainability is very important to their businesses and environmentally advanced waterbased and solventless laminating adhesives are indispensable to meeting their sustainability goals," says Nancy Smith, Rohm and Haas’ North American Region commercial development manager for Packaging Adhesives.

Poll results overwhelmingly confirmed that respondents are not only concerned about emissions from their operations -- more than 6 in 10 indicated concern -- but also that more than half already have VOC emission caps in place. Eight in 10 respondents felt that adhesive laminated flexible packaging was a technology that helped achieve sustainability goals, with more than six in 10 indicating that waterborne adhesives and inks also helped meet these objectives. If purchasing new equipment, more than two-thirds would choose machinery that runs waterborne, solvent-free or solventless inks and adhesives. Just 15 percent would choose equipment that runs solvent-borne materials.

Poll results also showed that barriers to sustainable flexible packaging adhesives are perceived rather than real. "Perceptions remain that replacing solvent-based options with environmentally advanced adhesives will slow runs, require different machinery, deliver lower performance or affect packaging appearance, but most respondents refuted those statements," Smith says. "Many indicated that they knew environmentally advanced options achieve high performance and excellent appearance with little change in line speed or equipment." Other suppliers also may find these results of interest. "Machine manufacturers and ink makers may find this data useful because it helps quantify what their laminated flexible packaging customers need now and in the future," Smith comments.

Rohm and Haas also offered other quantitative information at PACK EXPO that dovetailed with the expressed interest in sustainability: life cycle inventory analyses (LCIs) for many of its laminating adhesives. LCIs tally a product's energy/materials inputs and cumulative environmental impacts over its life cycle. This information is critical for customers evaluating the true environmental impact of business decisions like choosing among different packaging structure production methods, different adhesives for new lamination applications or switching laminating adhesive technologies.

Source: Rohm and Haas Company 

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