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Stronger straws, sustainable future

Posted 02/05/2019 by Pascal Alleno, Geographical Sales Manager for Converting Solutions

In the context of growing global concern about the impact single-use plastic waste is having on our environment, the humble drinking straw has suddenly found itself as one of the central villains of the story. However, a material transformation is underway and manufacturers are required to satisfy the rising demand for robust paper straws with sustainable credentials. Expectations are high, but with innovative adhesive technology and application expertise on hand, you could have all you need to unlock your paper straw potential.

Straw thinking at every level

From consumer pressure to government policy, there is a strong consensus that the end is in sight for single-use plastic straws. Non-recycled and single-use plastic has an impact on the environment that has raised global concern, with change happening at every level. To understand the scale of the problem, in Europe there is an estimated 100,000 tons of plastic waste finding its way into our seas from coastal areas every year. Drinking straws are one of the culprits, with an estimated usage rate of 36.4 billion per year in Europe alone.[1] The European commission has publicly committed to drive change and create a more circular economy. This objective is supported by FEICA (The Association of the European Adhesive Sealant Industry) of which we are an active member. Together, we are helping manufacturers deliver products, like drinking straws, which have more environmentally responsible product life cycles.

Paper straws, plastic performance

While some food and drink outlets initially tried to persuade customers to use fewer straws[2], it soon became apparent that an alternative solution was needed – and fast.

Paper straws are now back in fashion, and there is high demand for manufacturers that can deliver environmentally responsible products that will perform as well as their plastic equivalents. Consumers are looking for straws to be strong, water-resistant, colourfast, food-safe, and biodegradable when no longer needed. They must be convenient, hygienic and competitively priced. And, they need to be available now.

This represents a significant opportunity for manufacturers who can quickly and competitively convert or scale-up their production[3], and this is where our adhesive experts and global R&D facilities can make all the difference. We have the knowledge to help manufacturers who are either looking to accelerate their conversion from plastic to paper, or to improve product performance and drive manufacturing efficiencies.

Manufacturing paper straws is a very different process to plastic! Manufacturing paper straws is a process that we understand, both chemically and physically. Normally, there are three plies of paper bonded together by a small amount of water-based adhesive using a core-winding machine. We can help businesses choose the right paper and adhesive to achieve the desired product performance – after all, no one wants a soggy straw!

Swift®tak raising your game, in-line and in-use

To be successful in today’s competitive paper straw market, your products need to perform at a new level. Our water-based Swift®tak 5625 adhesive offers the water-resistant performance required by  paper straws and the  food-safe confidence demanded by consumers. And, not forgetting your product price point – it is fast on the line and runs cleanly to maximize process efficiencies and minimize machine downtime and expenditure on replacement parts.

Unlock your paper straw potential with H.B. Fuller adhesive expertise and Swift®tak 5625.


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