How Adhesive Manufacturers are Addressing Sustainability in Disposable Hygiene Products

Posted on 11/17/2021 7:52:05 AM By ASC

As the world faces multiple economic, environmental, and social challenges, many companies are adopting corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies to deliver more sustainable operations and products. Companies’ knowledge and understanding of CSR is at varying stages across the globe, however. Some have clear, well-thought-out strategies that they are executing and communicating; others welcome support.

The United Nations (UN) first published “Our Common Future” in 1987.1 Often called the Brundtland Report, it envisioned sustainability as: “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

In the years since this UN publication, governments and companies across the globe have worked together to expand on this idea. Today, the UN has identified 17 Sustainable Development Goals.2 According to the UN, “The Sustainable Development Goals are a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace, and justice.”3

With the exception of the adhesive that secures a feminine hygiene or light incontinence pad to the wearer’s underwear, or those used in some diaper closure systems, the bonding solution in a hygiene product generally goes unnoticed. Adhesives are not typically top of mind to consumers of disposable hygiene products. They are not a large part of the product and can possibly be an afterthought by the article producers themselves. In fact, adhesives make up only 2-3% of the average diaper by weight; in terms of CO2 emissions, 6% is a common estimate. However, it is important to recognize that adhesives have several important tasks in these applications, from sealing and securing the diaper or pad core’s structure to holding elastics firmly in place inside the diaper.