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Problem Solving: There Must Be a Better Straw

Posted 07/30/2019 by Jude Liddle, EIMEA Marketing Manager, Converting

Let’s face it: Single-use plastic straws are an eco-disaster. An estimated 500 million plastic straws are used and disposed of daily in the U.S alone, and another recent study estimates as many as 8.3 billion plastic straws pollute the world's beaches. There is a global outcry against the buildup of un-recycled plastic, leading to a renaissance of sorts in sustainable drinking alternatives: From reusable metals, plastics, and woods to single-use disposable paper. With more companies transitioning towards providing paper straws over plastic, the solution is starting to work its way into the mainstream.

But while paper straws might be the clear alternative to plastic straws, the technology simply is not there. Paper straws have a tendency to break down quickly when left in fluids and are expensive to produce. Once you’ve cut the toxins from plastic, different chemicals can be consumed instead.

At H.B. Fuller, we recognized these problems and knew that adhesives were going to play a dominant part in making the paper straw of the future. 

A Solution that Sticks

Our goal was to provide the tools to make a straw that can be used safely, thrown away, and broken down in a landfill. Next, we wanted to create an adhesive that delivered performance, the kind of glue that won’t break down in a range of beverage temperatures. Lastly, we knew that it needed to be a gentle product, something which is less abrasive on manufacturing machinery and easy to clean (playing its part to cut down on production costs, including energy usage and waste).

Our solution was the Swift®tak 5625, a water-based adhesive that’s specially designed to be water resistant and excellent at binding paper. The Swift®tak 5625 works well with keeping a water resistant side seam, which in turn keeps the bond rigid and crisp when left in liquids. This adhesive also shines in terms of cutting down on manufacturing costs and headaches. It’s an almost invisible, fast-setting product that can be applied to both cool and moist surfaces, making for an overall easier and cleaner adhesive to work with, requiring less maintenance time, and lessening the wear on machinery.

A Tool for Change

Paper straw manufacturers who use our Swift®tak 5625 technology see a straw that functions similarly to its plastic counterpart but without the environmental ramifications. Our adhesive unlocks the ability to create a durable, firm, structurally sound straw that holds up to the task at hand. Learn more about how we’re spearheading the exciting eco-revolution away from plastic straws towards more sustainable options, and contact one of our specialists today to discuss which adhesive solution is right for you.

We are problem solvers logo from H.B. Fuller.

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