The Glue Talk Blog

Cocktails with paper straws in them

The Importance of Food-Safe Adhesive in Paper Straws

Posted 16 Jun 2021 by Jyoti Mishra, Marketing Manager

Innovation with integrity

The single-use plastic ban in India, Europe, and Canada is continuing to impact how customers and manufacturers think about single-use plastics. Europe and Canada are eliminating single-use plastics this summer, and India has announced that it would eliminate single-use plastics by the end of 2022, including plastic straws. Numerous global companies, including Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Hyatt, have pledged to stop using plastic straws and are actively seeking alternatives. 

Choosing the right adhesive is key to creating a long-lasting paper straw. No one wants to have a soggy straw fall apart while enjoying their favorite beverage. H.B. Fuller offers innovative adhesives that help the paper straw maintain its integrity during use, which is usually a couple of hours and making sure the paper straw adhesive is food safe.

With very cost-effective paper straws, oftentimes you may notice that the end of the straw sitting in the drink starts to swell and close, which may spoil the consumer experience. If paper straw manufacturers don’t utilize a liquid resistant, food safe paper straw adhesive, the straw softens quickly, and the consumer may be at risk of ingesting undesired substances. Food safe means that a product poses no harm to human health. Food safe products must comply with regulatory guidelines for consumer food safety. BfR XXXVI is the food safety provision for paper and cardboard in Germany that is commonly used in the European Union and UK. FDA 176.170 is the comparable legal provision for paper and board intended for food contact in the United States.

At H.B. Fuller, we hold our straw adhesives to a higher standard than what the industry requires in many parts of the world and utilize food packaging guidelines when testing our adhesive for paper straws. Manufacturers of paper straws often sell non-food-safe straws in developing geographies, like India, China, Southeast Asia, and even the United States. There are several risks to distributors and brands purchasing non-food-safe straws, including poor user experience, such as the straw having an odor or a bad taste, or the straw becoming soggy within just a few minutes of being placed in the beverage, and most concerning, ingestion of chemical substances, which could be harmful to the user’s health.

Two people holding drinks with paper straws


Solution for increasing demand for food-safe paper straws

With increasing awareness around health concerns, many manufacturers are paying more attention and are ensuring they provide food-safe, paper straws to their customers. H.B. Fuller offers high-performance, food-safe adhesives that perform very well in a range of beverages, including water, juices, soft drinks and milk. Straws made with our Swift®tak paper straw adhesives meet BfRXXXVI and FDA 176.170 regulatory guidelines and have been validated by external testing institutes regarding migration levels, both for overall migration and mineral oil migration. When fully cured, Swift®tak water-based adhesives offer the water-resistance desired for paper straws and the food-safe confidence demanded by consumers.

And finally, when considering your product’s total cost of ownership - Swift®tak excels in increasing uptime and decreasing your cost per paper straw. Swift®tak adhesives are fast-setting products that are easier and cleaner to work with and cause less wear and tear on machinery. Hence, our paper straw adhesive solutions allow you to focus more on product quality and output and less on operational concerns.

As beverage brands, restaurants and corporations make the transition from plastic to paper straws, it’s important that they offer liquid resistant, food-safe straws made for a more sustainable future.

 Click infographic to enlarge

Paper Straws infographic 

H.B. Fuller, your collaborative partner for innovation!

H.B. Fuller is your partner with technical expertise and a deep understanding of your products and processes. Our sustainable adhesive solutions enhance performance and quality, while also increasing operational efficiencies. Since 1887, H.B. Fuller has been a leading global adhesive provider with proven commitment to innovation. Connect with us today to find out which adhesive solution is right for your sustainable products.


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