As market reports continue to forecast a need for increasing volumes of food packaging, how can businesses answer the call for less waste and greater sustainability? Christine Vidal, geographic sales manager for France at H.B. Fuller, considers this question in terms of the company's adhesives offering.
"Meeting society's demand for the sustainable use of materials while continuously improving convenience, enhancing consumer experience and making a profit is one of today's biggest challenges," says Christine Vidal, geographic sales manager for H.B. Fuller. "This is something we are working to help manufacturers address. The key to success lies in combining sustainable packaging materials with innovative adhesive technology; in particular, the use of low-temperature hot melt adhesives."
"The pressure on manufacturers for more-sustainable packaging solutions comes from a number of directions," Vidal explains. "Consumer expectations and European Commission proposals - like the ambitious Circular Economy Package recently put forward - are among the most important driving forces for innovation." She notes that retailers are often the first to feel pressure from customers and introduce solutions of their own in response.
One large German retailer, for instance, is now introducing a unique packaging evaluation system developed by the World Wide Fund for Nature to systematically categorise packaging according to its environmental impact. By evaluating material-use efficiency, renewability of raw materials, recyclability and contribution to CO2 emissions, this system should allow the setting of specific sustainability targets. A brand's packaging materials can then be compared against these standards and, if necessary, changed to optimise their sustainability value.
"The implementation of optimised packaging, however, needs to come from manufacturers themselves," Vidal stresses. "And they are currently developing a range of creative solutions to reduce the environmental impact of products throughout their life cycles."
Examples of such solutions include:
"The trend towards more-sustainable packaging solutions is clear and suppliers to the packaging industry can play a pivotal role in making it happen," Vidal says. "For example, new packaging materials may require innovative adhesive solutions to ensure the integrity of the package. H.B. Fuller offers a range of low-application-temperature hot melt adhesives with the versatility to address practically all case and carton-sealing applications. Relying on our expertise to make the right connection can help manufacturers achieve their sustainability and profitability goals."
The latest Advantra low-temperature hot melt adhesives enable manufacturers to take advantage of a variety of new substrates. Lower application temperatures are translated into reduced energy consumption and, consequently, lower CO2 emissions, improving the carbon footprint of the package.
Due to their clean running properties and suitability for vacuum-feeding systems, these adhesives can help increase productivity with reductions in unscheduled downtime, maintenance and manual handling.
One of the latest advances from H.B. Fuller in this area is the Advantra True LT 9340. Going even further to meet customers' sustainability needs, the formulation of this addition to H.B. Fuller's low-temperature hot-melt-adhesives range is based on over 40% forest-sourced raw materials.
"At H.B. Fuller, we develop innovative adhesive solutions for many different types of packaging, including case and carton, end-of-line, flexible, retail-ready, packaging containment and speciality," says Vidal. "Importantly, our team of technical experts supports manufacturers all the way from adhesive selection to application and line audits - in each case, connecting them with the ideal solution to achieve profitability and sustainability, while exceeding customer expectations."
Advantra and Advantra True are trademarks of H.B. Fuller or one of its affiliated entities.