A major leap forward towards greener adhesive solutions

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The author of this blog is Maija Kulla-Pelonen, RDI Manager for adhesives for the paper and packaging industries.

I began work at Kiilto about three years ago, having noted Kiilto’s exceptionally environmental corporate culture during my job interview. This included mention of a biodegradable hot melt adhesive, Kiilto Biomelt, which I have been involved with throughout my time at Kiilto. I was also delighted to learn that Kiilto Biomelt is just the cherry on the ‘green’ cake (do green cherries exist?).

Over the last three years, I have been involved in several projects that have been aiming to a positive environmental impact. The largest is Kiilto’s Promise to the Environment programme launched in 2018. Kiilto wants to be the environmental leader in its sector, which tangibly adds an environmental perspective to everything we do — from raw material choices to packaging, energy, logistics and services — in achieving our ambitious green goals.

I have found it extremely motivating to work towards these goals, given the major role that green values have always played in my life. A new perspective has even been added to my everyday shopping trips — environmental issues have unavoidably entered the picture. I automatically consider the ecology of the packaging when placing a product in my shopping cart. Is it made of renewable or recycled raw materials? Is it easily recyclable, or perhaps biodegradable?

And, of course, I wonder what kind of adhesive was used for the packaging: did it take account of environmental values?

In the midst of the exceptional coronavirus era, we at Kiilto have found a solution to this last question. I am very proud to be involved in a project which will result in a large proportion of Kiilto's packaging adhesives being made from renewable raw materials. The adhesives retain their high-quality properties and processability while enabling the production of completely renewable packaging. Our new packaging adhesives are known as the Kiilto Pro Pack Eco range. They are the packaging industry's first dispersion adhesives to be made from renewable raw materials based on biomass balance calculations.

I know that my previous sentence will make many readers pause: Biomass balance calculation? What exactly does that mean? The idea is easy to understand by comparing it to renewable energy. When consumers buy wind-generated electricity, for example, they pay for the power they consumed on the basis that wind power was used instead of non-renewable power, regardless of how the actual power supplied to their home was generated.Biomass balance calculation works in a similar way. Kiilto undertakes to purchase raw materials, matching the amount it uses, made from renewable sources. This prompts the raw material suppliers to replace oil-based materials with renewable ones sourced from forest industry sidestreams. As a result, oil-based materials are replaced by renewables, even if both are fed into the same process.

The end result is the Kiilto Pro Pack Eco adhesives, which represent a leap forward towards a greener packaging industry. Are you ready to make the leap?

Maija Kulla-Pelonen
RDI Manager