Plastic reduction is a hugely important topic across industry sectors with many companies seeking to reduce plastic use, especially single-use plastics. Driving this change are consumers who are more environmentally aware, and manufacturers and retailers who now prioritising the effort to find alternatives to plastic to be able to provide a more sustainable future. According to WRAP.org.uk, “plastic packaging in the UK accounts for nearly 70% of plastic waste, making packaging the primary focus of the UK Plastics Pact”. Another element to consider is the implementation of the ‘plastic packaging tax’ coming into force in April 2022 (UK Government). This new piece of legislation applies a £200 tax per tonne to all plastic packaging containing less than 30% recycled material.
In the food sector, many supermarkets have plastic reduction targets such as Sainsbury’s aim to half all-plastic packaging by 2025 and Aldi to have 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging across all products by 2025 (BBC). This impacts suppliers who need to find ways to support these initiatives. Every part of the packaging process needs to be taken into consideration, including adhesives.
A lot of recycling centres class hot melt adhesive as plastic so at Interlock Adhesives, we are concentrating on reducing the amount of adhesive applied and how using the correct adhesives can offer a more sustainable solution and cutting the amount of adhesive used by up to 50%. Adhesive can also offer an alternative process to typically ‘plastic heavy’ parts of the packing process. These include paper wrapping for magazines and pallet stabilisation for transporting goods. We are passionate about providing a service that not only provides the best quality results but also advises and consults our customers on how we can promote a circular economy and implement adhesives as a sustainable option for a better future.
Plastic reduction using adhesives
This is an innovative method using pressure sensitive adhesives to temporarily glue items together on a stacked pallet. The beauty for this method is that it is easy to restack, remove and replace items on a pallet, all while lowering the demand for plastic shrink wrap across the supply chain. Some may still be used for protection in transit, but consumption will be reduced by up to 90%.
Paper straws are manufactured using a core winding machine and require a small amount of water based adhesive between the paper layers. Henkel have designed and produced Aquence low migration adhesives with are completely food safe, making them perfect for the application of paper drinking straws. Aquence low migration adhesives are completely free of plasticiers, phalates, benzoates and Triacetin and can be recycled.
Using the right adhesive can make a huge difference to the consumption required per application. For example, our Supra range has such a high density you can use up to 30% less per unit while still achieving the best results. As adhesives are categorised as plastic in waste terms, this means that reducing consumption has a direct effect on the amount of plastic used per unit and across a production line.
Polyurethane wrap has been the usual method of delivering magazines/catalogues for many years now. Nearly all this plastic ended up in landfill as it is not widely recycled. Back in 2019 National Geographic magazine became one of the first to make the switch from plastic to paper wrap and haven’t looked back. Many print finishers are changing their traditional PU wrapping lines to paper wrapping.
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