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June 9, 2016 - Tape & Label

The Problem with “Stickies” and How Recycling Compatible Adhesives are the Solution

Sustainable practices are a growing importance in every market today. From the packaging market to the construction industry, sustainability is at the forefront of every manufacturer’s mind. The label market is no different.

In a recent blog, we discussed certain ways the label market is going green. According to Label and Narrow Web, converters look at every step in the manufacturing process for ways to make it more “green”.

However, traditional pressure sensitive adhesives (PSAs) have been one obstacle in particular to the tape and label market’s green efforts. Let’s take a look at why that is and how recycling compatible adhesives are the solution:

 PSAs and the “Stickies” Problem:

TLMI cites that PSAs cause problems in producing and using recycled paper pulp. PSAs become small particles during processing, which results in “stickies” that can build up on process equipment. In addition to causing defects on the final product, this problem also means:

  • Lower product selling prices
  • Higher down time and equipment clean up costs

As a result, this “stickies” problem is costing paper companies more than $700 million a year.

How Recycling Compatible Adhesives are the Solution:

To solve this problem, manufacturers have started making adhesives that are easier to remove during paper recycling. These are called recycling compatible adhesives (RCAs), which are a class of hot melt PSAs that remain large enough after pulping and can be removed by slotted screens and flotation.

Label and Narrow Web cites that removal efficiencies can be as high as 99% when using an RCA. As a result, RCAs are getting significant attention. They allow paper to be recycled without the adhesive clogging the screens during the recycling process. RCAs also:

  • Resist shear forces
  • Ensure that the paper the adhesive is adhering to remains recyclable

Creating an RCA:

In order for an adhesive to be deemed an RCA, it must pass the RCA standard test methods derived from the U.S. Postal Service. For more detailed information, visit TLMI’s RCA Specification.

Once an adhesive meets these specifications, suppliers and converters can qualify it as an RCA.

Bostik offers quality RCA products that meet these standards and your needs. Contact us to let us know if you would like RCA approval on a specific adhesive product. You can also sign up for our email list to receive monthly updates on the tape and label industry and trends.

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