Within the space of a few decades, adhesives have become a pervasive presence in our homes and the workplace. Construction and housing, furniture assembly and upholstery, crating and packaging, carpeting and flooring — these are just a handful of the industries in which the use of adhesives is widespread. Indeed, it is estimated that some homes now contain over a half ton of glue!
VOCs - The Silent Killer
Some adhesives are thought to contribute to environmental problems like air pollution, in particular, the formation of ground-level ozone or “smog.” The key culprit, it turns out, is the group of chemicals present in adhesives known as volatile organic compounds or VOCs (“volatile” means it is a liquid which will evaporate at room temperature, and “organic” means carbon-containing).
Highly effective thinners and solvents that work together with the adhesive resin — the substance that binds all the elements of the sealant together and enables it to stick to the surface required — VOCs have been widely used in all types of adhesives over the past 50 years. Now that we know more about their health and environmental effects, however, it may be time for a rethink.
Low VOC Adhesives - The Eco-Friendly Alternative
Having woken up to the potential drawbacks of VOC-containing adhesives, consumers are demanding safer, eco-friendlier alternatives. They are getting them, too, with all sorts of environmentally friendly low VOC adhesives now appearing on the market (Note: “low VOC” generally means a product with VOC content not exceeding 150 grams/liter).
And no longer are these products serving only a certain (green) niche in that market. In some states — such as California — low VOC adhesive products are becoming mandatory.
What’s Happening in California?
The state of California has recently passed laws requiring particular categories of spray adhesives to comply with more stringent VOC requirements. The restrictions differ somewhat, depending on the type and size of manufacturer, and on their customer base. For example, large-scale, national manufacturers of VOC-containing adhesives will now have to sell a different product in the state of California, or choose to sell only to the other states.
The new laws naturally only apply to products made from 2017 on. There is still a three-year sell-through period, i.e. for a product made in 2016, and customers can buy and still sell it for another three years.
Among the products to which the new laws apply are mist spray adhesives, whose percentage of VOCs by weight must now be 30 percent or less only (down from 65 percent); web spray adhesives (40 percent down from 55 percent); and screen printing adhesives (55 percent).
Sustainable Adhesive That Doesn’t Sacrifice Performance
Industry leaders are already launching products that meet these standards, and in a way, that doesn’t sacrifice performance, either. For until quite recently, low VOC adhesives ticked the right boxes environmentally, yet frequently failed to deliver the required level of performance and durability. Stories abound of costly and time-consuming product recalls following low VOC glue coming unstuck within only a few months.
But now things are changing. The latest generation of low VOC adhesives shows these adhesives can be eco-friendly without compromising product performance.
The Latest Generation - Eco-Friendly, High-Performance Adhesives
Check out the Camie 500 and Camie 573 mist sprays, both estimated to contain less than 30 percent VOCs. The new Camie 573 low VOC spray adhesive delivers a fast tacking and exceptionally high-strength bond, making it ideal for bonding paper, cardboard, fabric and plastics, and for numerous applications like labeling, packaging, palletizing and case sealing.
Meanwhile, the Camie 500 Low VOC General Purpose Spray Adhesive offers a tack that is as fast (45 seconds to two minutes) and as strong as its predecessors, and binds equally well to any number of substrates including plastic, paper, cork, fabric, leather, wood and metal. It is also applicable to a wide range of industries and applications, including product assembly, furniture and upholstery, and textiles.
The high content of solids (30 percent) ensures greater coverage per given quantity of adhesive, resulting in a much better value for money. With neither of these products will you notice any difference in odor quality, either.
So far as web spray adhesives go, take a look at the Camie 563 general purpose web spray adhesive, containing less than 40 percent VOs by weight, well below the legislated requirements, and no straggler when it comes to performance.
Then there’s the Camie 575 Low-VOC Screen Printer Spray Adhesive. This is a low-VOC version of the 373 spray adhesive used in screen printing. It also offers quick tacking, long-lasting bonds and high thermal resistance, and it can be used on substrates including fabric, cardboard and even fleece.
The Future Looks Bright
These are just a few of the Low VOC adhesives now on offer which deliver an eco-friendly adhesive which doesn’t compromise on performance. And because the technologies and methods used to create adhesive formulas are constantly evolving, you can expect even more amazing products to be released in the years ahead. The future looks bright indeed.