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Published: Kem. Ind. 60 (5) (2011) 269–276
Paper reference number: KUI-19/2010
Paper type: Professional paper
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Analysis of the Environmental Sustainability of the Adhesive Technology

M. Jović, Z. Buhin Šturlić, I. Krobot and S. Lučić Blagojević


The most important factors that influence the sustainability of the adhesive technology are the sources of raw materials, energy consumption in the production process, and impact on environmental pollution. The usual formulation of the adhesive contains base polymer component derived mostly from non-renewable sources of oil and various other additives, and in some types of adhesives the liquid media are organic solvents or water. The environmental sustainability of the adhesive technology depends on the justification of the choice of raw material and additives, and especially today, the decreasing fraction of organic solvents in the formulations. This paper presents an analysis of production and shares of certain types of adhesives, depending on the polymer component in Western Europe in comparison with the production program of Croatian small-medium manufacturer Metakem d. o. o., Ludbreg. From the comparison of the presented data for the factory Metakem and the Western European market (Fig. 1), it is evident that Metakem’s manufacturing program includes products for almost all major market segments that use adhesives. Differences in the percentage share reflects Metakem production capability, but also the demand for some types of glue on the local market. From the data presented, it is evident that adhesives have a very wide application and occupy an important position in many other industries. Hence, the sustainability of the adhesive technology is extremely important. Considering the origin of raw polymer materials in Metakem production program, as well as in the Western European market (Fig. 2), the analysis has revealed that most of the adhesives product range is based on synthetic polymeric materials obtained from non-renewable sources of oil. Thus, today’s bioadhesives research topics are focused on finding new sources of polymer materials based on natural raw materials, which can meet the appropriate quality requirements compared with those achieved by adhesive formulations based on synthetic polymers. An important criterion of environmental sustainability is the lower content of volatile organic compounds in the adhesive. Compared to the Western European market, it is evident that solvent- based adhesives are still an essential part of Metakem’s production program (Fig. 3). Based on the characteristics of the solvents used in adhesive formulations at Metakem (Table 1) it can be concluded that they are not harmful to the environment in terms of negative impact on the ozone layer or bioaccumulation. However, all the solvents in high concentrations or prolonged inhalation may seriously endanger human health, and therefore special attention is required when these solvents are used in adhesive formulations. Generally, there is an increasing trend in production of water-based adhesives in the world because of environmental acceptability and mandatory legal regulations. Therefore, Croatia can also expect a more significant growth in water- based adhesives.

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adhesives, environmental sustainability, polymer component in formulation, volatile organic compounds