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Biodegradable Polymers Poised to Play a Key Role for Developing Adhesives in the FMCG and Healthcare Industries
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Biodegradable polymers are increasingly adopted in many applications and industries to replace crude-derived polymers. Currently, the application of biodegradable polymers as binders, sealants, and adhesives is gaining traction, with pressure sensitive adhesives (PSA) being a hot area of interest. Healthcare, FMCG, and packaging are the top areas of interest for PSA adoption. Biodegradable polymers are used as PSA in flexible packaging of food, as cosmetic glues and as seed coatings. The need for biodegradable PSAs in wound care is significant as most adhesive solutions available currently are non-biodegradable or can potentially cause allergies. One of the most common candidates currently used as a tissue sealant is cyanoacrylate, which is non-biodegradable. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued guidance to update its policy regarding the use of animal-derived materials in medical patches and skin formats. Therefore, R&D toward plant-derived biodegradable PSA, naturally inspired polymers, and integrating biodegradability in acrylates and polyurethanes has increased. Apart from replacing animal-derived polymers as adhesives, the drive toward a global circular economy contributes to the reduction in the use of fossil resources and greenhouse gas emissions propelling opportunities for biodegradable PSAs. Additionally, certain properties such as wettability, polarity, cohesion strength, and tack can make biodegradable PSA extremely attractive to end users. The packaging industry is shifting focus from using synthetic petroleum-derived polymers, which may eventually end up as microplastics to compostable PSA adhesives that break into carbon dioxide and nutrients. These factors push consumers and brand owners to be ever-more conscious about the environment. Many companies are trying to adopt biodegradable materials to design labels and tapes for packaging. This research service titled, ‘Technology Advances in Biodegradable Pressure Sensitive Adhesives,' focuses on identifying and analyzing research initiatives focused on the development of new biodegradable PSA candidates for the healthcare, packaging, cosmetics, and agricultural industries. The developments captured in this research service are categorized into three major approaches namely: new material development, introducing biodegradability to existing synthetic polymeric adhesives, and exploring naturally occurring adhesives. The primary focus of researching these materials is to define their biodegradability while not compromising on their binding properties across a wide range of substrates. Frost & Sullivan has identified seven key materials with tremendous potential as biodegradable PSAs. 1. Biodegradable polyvinyl alcohols 2. Biodegradable polyesters 3. Polylactides 4. Microbial-derived glues 5. Bio-mimicked adhesives 6. Other emerging materials such as plant oil-based materials 7. Biodegradable polyurethanes and acrylates. While acrylates and polyurethanes are already established as synthetic PSAs, researchers are trying to incorporate biodegradable polymers such as polylactides with these to make these polymers biodegradable. New polymers such as biodegradable acrylated epoxy resin from plant oils, starch, bio- mimicked glues from mussels are investigated to formulate pressure sensitive adhesives. Though biodegradable PSAs would find significant competition from synthetic PSAs, emphasis on sustainability is expected to act as a key driver, primarily in the wound care and flexible packaging areas. Key Points Discussed: What are the key biodegradable PSA materials being developed? What are the various approaches researched to incorporate biodegradability in polyurethane- and acrylate-based PSA? What are the initiatives undertaken to accelerate R&D? What are the factors impacting R&D and adoption of PSA?What are the growth opportunities for technology developers in the PSA domain?
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