Specialty materials company Rohm and Haas is advancing their efforts to solve sustainability challenges facing customers in food and consumer product packaging, most recently evidenced by the company’s participation at the 2009 Sustainable Package Design Workshop + Designer’s Resource Expo in Clearwater, Fla.
“A step-change in modern packaging solutions is well under way,” says Nancy Smith, commercial development manager, Packaging Adhesives for Rohm and Haas. And while consumers are baffled as to what constitutes green packaging, often citing paper or pressboard as their preference when these aren’t necessarily the best solutions, the industry needn’t be puzzled. According to Smith, “When and how best to achieve sustainable packaging goals is very doable and very important today. Our focus is on educating users on how advanced adhesive technologies and newer laminating products can best meet their sustainability goals, whatever they are.”
Life cycle inventory (LCI) analysis is an example. Evaluating current extrusion lamination products through an LCI analysis makes it possible to measure both energy consumption and CO2 emission. “Even the thinnest extrusion laminated packages fall short,” says Smith. “To achieve a better green packaging solution, adhesive lamination is the superior choice.”
LCI analysis demonstrates that compared to an extruded lamination, a solventless adhesive package lamination uses 85 percent less energy and emits 80 percent less carbon. Select a waterborne adhesive for package lamination and energy consumption drops 50 percent, while the amount of CO2 emitted is 40 percent less. Plus, either of these adhesive lamination solutions saves additional production cost through lower raw material use.
One of the newest paths to green packaging involves bio-based cellulose or polylactic acid (PLA) films made with naturally derived starches from plants, which avoid petroleum feed stocks altogether. The growing popularity of these alternative film materials to support sustainability initiatives, however, presents unique challenges for packaging construction. Rohm and Haas has devoted significant development efforts to identifying top-performing adhesive solutions for bio-based packaging and will showcase a number of these products now available under their Adcote, Robond and Mor-Free brand adhesive lines. The company created their newest adhesives specifically to meet performance criteria for bio-based packaging. Rohm and Haas also markets a line of PLA additives that improve impact resistance, reduce sheet production problems, enable higher melt strength and line speed, all while minimizing equipment difficulties.
“Going green with advanced packaging solutions is still an elusive goal for many packagers, but we’ve found that barriers to sustainable flexible packaging adhesives are really perceptions today rather than reality,” says Smith. “Rohm and Haas packaging specialists work closely with converters and film manufacturers to support packaging companies. Our company has developed a core sustainability competency when it comes to packaging laminations and we believe that it is vital to share it.”
To learn more, visit go.rohmhaas.com/sustainablepackaging.