H.B. Fuller
New member of the 4evergreen Alliance

08.03.2022 H.B. Fuller Company, a leading global adhesives provider, announced that they have recently joined the 4evergreen alliance, a cross-industry alliance hosted by the Confederation of European Paper Industries (Cepi) to improve the circularity of fibre-based packaging.

The H.B. Fuller facility in Mindelo, Portugal.
© Photo: H.B. Fuller
The H.B. Fuller facility in Mindelo, Portugal.

The initiative brings together a diverse network of around 90 organisations and stakeholders throughout the packaging value chain – to push for innovation throughout the sector and develop robust, fact-based guidelines for the future of fibre-based packaging. The goal of the alliance is to raise the overall recycling rate of fibre-based packaging to 90% by 2030 and contribute to a climate neutral and sustainable society.

Collaboration is vital

H.B. Fuller global sustainability manager Elizabeth Staab says: “This is both an exciting and challenging period for the packaging industry. Collaboration throughout the supply chain is vital if we are to achieve changes that improve the world for this generation of consumers and beyond. Sustainability is a core pillar of our business strategy at H.B. Fuller, and we are joining the 4evergreen Alliance to expand collaboration with a variety of companies. We must ensure that we continue to invest in R&D projects that will deliver the scientist-designed adhesive products with the tailored high performance and low environmental impact needed to answer the challenges facing the fibre-based packaging industry both today and in the coming decades.”

A commitment to innovation and sustainability drives H.B. Fuller to prioritise technologies that fulfil increasing regulatory needs and consumer environmental awareness. In this case, adhesives are a very small, and often unseen, part of the final item of fibre-based packaging. And yet they are a key performance enabler. Fibre-based packaging is made of fibres that can have several lives by being kept in the recycling loop. During the life of that packaging, the adhesive maintains pack and brand integrity throughout the supply chain. Last, once it is discarded by the consumer into the correct recycling stream, adhesives continue to perform by ensuring the fibres can be recycled into new board and packaging of stickies.

One recent example is the Sesame  sustainable fibre-based e-commerce opening tear tape. Unlike the standard plastic technology on the market, the global, patent-pending, tear tape adds fibre to the recycling stream. This solution is over 80% bio-based and utilises a substrate that is responsibly and sustainably sourced, certified by PEFC (The Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). The product prioritises sustainability while maintaining an excellent consumer "unboxing experience" of everyday packages.

Waste-out approach

H.B. Fuller palletising adhesives are another example. They enable Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) manufacturers to design products with a waste-out approach, dematerialising the pallet packaging used throughout the supply chain, such as trays, slip sheets and stretch wraparound pallets that use polyethylene plastic, a material that is not recyclable in some parts of the world. Thus, when applied to the top of finished goods packaging, H.B. Fuller adhesives grip corrugated cases, bags and shrink-wrapped bottles into place and prevent pallet loads from shifting during transit – reducing the need to use plastic stretch wrap for pallet stability.

Staab continues: “Being more sustainable can mean different things to different people. It could mean easy to recycle. Or have a low carbon footprint. Or designed using circular economy principles. But most likely, it will be a combination of all these, in addition to complying with current and possible future regulations. The environmental challenges facing the world and the subsequent demand for low environmental impact products needs a multi-faceted and collaborative approach. There simply isn’t just one solution or one company with all the answers.”