Adhesive Applications Sustainable packaging through adhesives

By Pierangelo Brambilla, product manager of Laminate Adhesives, Europe, Sun Chemical

might be used for its rigidity or seal-ability to make, for example, a retortable pouch. While this combination of different types of plastic material together has provided the necessary packaging functionality, it has also made the sorting and recycling of the plastic package after use very difficult. To improve the recycling of

petrochemically based plastic substrates, converters are reshaping the packaging by using a mono-material, which makes sorting and recycling easier at the end of the package’s life. However, using a single type of plastic (generally polyethylene or polypropylene) means that, while the packaging has the appropriate mechanical strength, the oxygen barrier property, for example, is reduced or affected. To support our customers who want to use

operations and in our product development, especially around supporting the social imperatives of ensuring food safety and reducing food loss and packaging waste. Indeed, recognising the importance of sustainability as a global issue, we are looking to align our corporate goals with the Social Development Goals of the United Nations and believe that the actions we’re taking to help develop a more sustainable packaging industry will have a positive impact towards a number of the UN’s goals. As our CEO has stated, our approach to


sustainability guides the way we develop and manufacture products, as well as how we work with our customers. And through the continued expansion of our portfolio, we’re helping our customers to achieve their own sustainability goals. One way in which we’re doing this is through the ongoing development of coatings and adhesives that will contribute to the increasing sustainability of packaging materials. Plastic packaging, for example, has become a huge issue of debate and consumer opinion has prompted brand managers, converters and industry associations (such as CEFLEX, with which Sun Chemical, as a member, is working closely to advance its sustainability and circular economy roadmap for flexible packaging in Europe) to look at ways of reducing, reusing or recycling plastic as much as possible, so as to decrease the amount of plastic pollution in the environment. While it's clear that, around ten years ago, plastic was a breakthrough packaging innovation for light-weighting and food preservation, now the industry is looking to

10 July/ August 2020

s the world’s largest supplier of inks and coatings, Sun Chemical is committed to sustainability, both in our own

adopt an alternative bio-sourced plastic, while in the meantime finding better ways to use the petrochemical sourced base material to reduce the environmental impact of plastic both in landfill and pollution of the oceans. The first goal involves the development of

more compostable packaging from a bio- sourced material to produce a substrate that is not really plastic, but that has the functionality of plastic as well as the benefit of being biodegradable in certain environmental conditions. While some packaging may be home compostable – so it basically biodegrades at room temperature – the majority is industrially compostable, meaning that it needs a higher temperature as part of an industrial process to biodegrade. In both cases, however, the loop of the circular economy is closed as the composted material can then be used to grow additional plant crops. Sun Chemical is contributing to the

process by offering a range of inks, coating and adhesives for industrial composting that have been properly screened by an independent, accredited laboratory and certified either by TUV Austria and/or DIN CERTCO as suitable to use in the production of industrial compostable laminates, combining the different bio-source substrates available on the market. With regards to finding better ways to use

petrochemically based plastic packaging, the trend is towards adopting a mono- material petrochemical-based plastic laminate. Until recently, to achieve a certain level of performance from a conventional packaging material, layers of different types of plastic material have been laminated together - one layer might comprise a certain type of plastic that works well as a barrier to light or oxygen, while another

mono-material plastic packaging, at Sun Chemical we have therefore developed series of barrier coatings (SunBar) and barrier adhesives (PASLIM) that offer all the functionality of conventional barrier films, while reducing the weight of the packaging. Creating barriers against moisture, oxygen, CO2, UV light, odour and migration, SunBar coatings provide converters with cost- effective, durable and compostable films by creating a pinhole-free, and flexible gas barrier layer that can be easily overprinted with our compostable inks and laminated to a variety of secondary films. Chlorine- and metal-free, SunBar coatings also offer a reduced carbon footprint and easy application with few changes to current equipment. Enabling the production of dramatically thinner and lighter laminated packaging films, as well as preventing food deterioration, PASLIM reduces the volume and the cost of film used, emissions of CO2 during product transport Sun Bar and PASLIM can be used individually or they can be used in combination, depending on the application that has to be delivered. Potato crisp packets, for example, require a much lower level of barrier compared with ham and cheese packaging, so the second application might require both a barrier adhesive and a barrier coating, while for the first, either a coating or an adhesive might be sufficient. So whether our customers are looking to

achieve their sustainability goals through improving the recyclability or the compostability of their packaging, Sun Chemical is fully committed to working with them in support of their aims – in the case of recyclability, by providing them uniquely with both barrier coatings and barrier adhesives to facilitate mono-material packaging for easier recycling; and in the case of compostability, by supplying them with a range of coatings, inks and adhesives which are fully approved for industrial compostability.

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