Adhesives & sealants are used to make almost everything. They’re the binding forces that allow things to become much more than just a collection of parts. They’re also great enablers for building a sustainable future, but theres a problem!

By Published On: July 1st, 2019

Time For The Building & Home Improvement Market to Change.

Single Use Plastic Packaging Waste

The enormity of our, single use plastic packaging problem, is already well publicised. But you still don’t have to look very far, to find a market where so much more can be done to bring about positive change.

Every year in the UK construction and DIY sector alone, single use plastic packaging waste from millions of used adhesive and sealant cartridges ends up in landfill.

Adhesive & Sealant Cartridges.

Made From Single Use Plastic

Currently plastic containers made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), are used for dispensing the vast majority of sealants & adhesives. They’re strong and durable, but they don’t biodegrade. Instead they’re resistant to natural biodegradation processes. This is because the microbes that break down other substances simply don’t recognise plastic as food!

However it is possible to recycle HDPE, but this process relies on a number of key factors. First and most important is that the waste must be disposed of properly. Unfortunately, the majority of users fail at the first hurdle because it’s simply far too easy for their waste to become contaminated and consolidated with other things.

Wall of Waste Plastic Packaging
Difficult To Recycle.

When waste HDPE cartridges are disposed through the correct waste channel. Before the recycling process can begin, the plastic must be completely cleaned of all contaminants. And at this stage, it’s what remains inside thats important.

Most cleaning processes use a float-sink tank system. By floating HDPE in water the tanks can normally remove contaminants. Unfortunately HDPE used in conjunction with sealants & adhesives, is often too heavily contaminated. Stubborn left over product, that in most cases has fully dried, can’t be separated from the plastic. And ultimately this is what prevents the waste plastic from entering the main recycling process.

So without a reliable recycling process, we’re left with a problem. Using plastic sealant and adhesive cartridges mostly leaves behind unacceptable, permanent, single use plastic packing waste. Thats millions and millions of waste plastic cartridges, entering land fill every year and polluting for the next 1000 years.

Taking Responsibility.

During their 2018 budget the UK government announced that it would introduce a new tax on plastic packaging. Subject to consultation, they announced that the tax will apply to all plastic packaging that doesn’t include, at least 30% recycled content. Future revenues from the tax will also be invested back into managing waste plastic.

A World Leading New Tax On Produced Or Imported Plastic Packaging

This has been largely welcomed but questions still loom. Should the government be doing more? Will working within the confines of a “30% recycled” caveat, merely negate any financial or moral pressure on manufactures? Offsetting the need to deliver product packaging changes that truly benefit the environment.

Personally I suspect this new tax alone won’t be be enough. Something needs to force Europe’s big sealant & adhesive manufacturers to invest in their manufacturing base and revamp their products in new, more environmentally friendly packaging.

Plastic Adhesive & Sealant Cartridge Products

Aluminium Foil Sausages.

Changing Consumer Habits

For adhesives & sealants aluminium foil sausages have been a credible packaging alternative for decades. But so far in the UK and Western Europe, we’ve seen no desire from the dominant manufactures to drive these more environment friendly form factors to market.

It’s disappointing to see that retailers are still loaded full of products using the same single use plastic packaging that they’ve stocked for more than the last 30 years.

It would seem that the barrier for the vast majority of manufacturers, has been their existing production infrastructure. They’re chained to plastic.

Considering things like their cosy relationships with plastic component suppliers like Fischbach. Along with the fact they’ve not really been challenged yet. It’s no surprise that there’s been a general lack of enthusiasm from major adhesive and sealant manufacturers. Despite our environmental needs manufacturers have been reluctant to invest in the new equipment, education and the incentives for consumers to buy.

These are the things we need, in order to change habits and drive better alternatives to single use plastic packaging. The way consumers shop for, dispense and dispose of their adhesive & sealant products must change.

Launching Hippo ECO-PAC Sausages.

Better For The Environment.

Six One Creative has worked closely with client Tembé DIY & Building Products to change the market. Together, for leading brand Hippo, we’ve created and launched a range of adhesives and sealants in new aluminium foil sausages.

ECO-PACs are better for the environment because they simply take up less physical space. They contain less than 1% plastic, create 96% less waste and produce less carbon on their way into and out of the supply chain.

A plastic cartridge occupies exactly the same amount of space before being filled with product, as it does on its way through to dispensing that same product and becoming waste material.

Meanwhile up to a quarter of a million ECO-PACs can arrive at production on just a single foil roll. This makes them more efficient during their useful life. Most importantly, before and after its been used to dispense product, an ECO-PAC occupies 96% less space than an old plastic cartridge.

Additionally, despite any of the contamination challenges that prevent products packaged in plastic cartridges from being recycled. Aluminium foil adhesive and sealant products can be fully recycled. Aluminium foil sausages are the future for adhesive and sealant products.

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