Biodegradable hot melt adhesive makes for environmentally friendlier packaging

Kiilto has developed a hot melt adhesive that enables the production of fully compostable packaging – among other things. A biodegradable adhesive can replace the usual hot melt adhesives made, for example, from oil-based raw materials in various applications in the packaging industry and in the production of hygiene products. The other qualities of this biodegradable adhesive are the same as those of hot melt adhesives currently on the market. But what stands out is its environmental performance.

Today, both consumers and companies are more concerned about the environmental impacts of packaging and its contents. Awareness of the raw materials used in packaging has increased, and environmentally responsible packaging now brings a competitive advantage. The recycling of packaging and environmentally friendly material choices also reduce costs, as they directly affect the amount of waste produced.

A 100% compostable alternative

Industrial clients’ needs are varied, and it often takes them time to establish the best practices. However, Kiilto’s biodegradable hot melt adhesive, Kiilto Biomelt, is used like an ordinary hot melt adhesive, requiring no change in production processes if it replaces one. Typical uses include packaging for take-away products, various lamination applications for tissue papers and textiles, and boxes.

According to the ISO-14855 standard, a compostable adhesive enables full packaging compostability. This is helpful to industrial producers, especially in markets where cardboard is not yet fully recycled.

“This fully biodegradable adhesive is a new product Kiilto has developed from scratch. It has required the development of the right chemistry and polymerisation utilising simple lactic acid-based components to make a polymer that is used as the product’s main ingredient. This can be modified with a range of additives to make a product that suits the customer’s process,” Tuula Lahti, Kiilto’s Product Development Manager for polymerisation, explains.

“Hot melt adhesives are usually made with petrochemical products. Our development work aims to produce the biodegradable Biomelt entirely from renewable raw materials,” says Maija Kulla-Pelonen, Kiilto’s RDI Manager for adhesives for the paper and packaging industries.

Part of long-term work for the environment

This biodegradable hot melt adhesive wasn’t developed overnight. It required the exploration of various product development opportunities over many years.

“For example, it was important to find a suitable partner for the success of development work. We want to collaborate with our customers to meet the sector’s needs as well as possible. Environmental values are important to our customers, which is also evident in the demand for these kinds of product,” Kulla-Peltonen comments.

“It’s wonderful that we can also help our customers act with greater environmental responsibility by trusting our vision and developing our products on the basis of that vision,” she continues.

To remain the environmental leader in its business, Kiilto undertakes continuous development work for the environment. In the spring of 2018, Kiilto started the Our Promise to the Environment project. Its aim is to ensure that the environment is considered in all ongoing projects. Four teams went through existing and planned projects, analysing them from the packaging, logistics, energy consumption, material choices and services perspectives.

“Environmental sustainability and our commitment to the future are at the heart of Kiilto’s operations. Solutions such as this biodegradable hot melt adhesive are clear results of this commitment. Innovations that reduce the burden on the environment not only create new products, they also give the whole industry an opportunity to develop sustainably,” concludes Raija Polvinen, Kiilto’s RDI Director.