Adhesives & sealants are used to make almost everything. They’re the binding forces that allow things to become much more than just a collection of parts. They’re great enablers for building a sustainable future. But each year in the UK construction and DIY sector alone, packaging from millions of waste single use plastic cartridges ends up in landfill.

Common plastic cartridges used for dispensing sealant & adhesive products are made from durable, high-density polyethylene (HDPE). And you probably already know that these don’t biodegrade. They’re resistant to natural biodegradation processes because microbes that break down other substances simply don’t recognise HDPE as food!

Wall of Waste Plastic Packaging

It is possible to recycle HDPE. But recycling relies on a number of factors falling into place. The first and most important is that for it to be recycled HDPE must be disposed of properly. Unfortunately, the majority of sealant and adhesive users fail at the first hurdle because it’s simply far too easy for their waste to become consolidated with everything else.

On the occasions when HDPE cartridges are disposed of using the correct waste channel, before a plastic recycling process can begin, it must be completely cleaned of all contaminants. Unfortunately, when it’s been used to dispense a sealant or adhesive more often than not it’s heavily contaminated with the kind of stubborn product that prevents this cleaning process from working.

The enormity of our waste plastic problem is already well publicised, but more must be and can always be done to tackle it. 

New ECO-PACs from Hippo are aluminium foil sausages that replace traditional single use plastic cartridges. The new extended 2020 range can be used for carrying out many common sealant and adhesive tasks.

These strong durable sausages are easy to use with no mess and contain less than 1% plastic. They’re much better for the environment because they quite simply take up less physical space on their way into the supply chain and again once they’ve been used.

A plastic cartridge occupies exactly the same amount of space before being filled with product as it does all the way through to dispensing that same product and becoming waste material. Meanwhile up to a quarter of a million Hippo ECO-PACs can arrive at production on just a single foil roll. This makes them far more efficient on their way into production resulting in lower carbon emissions. 

Then once they’ve eventually been used by end users, they become compressed and leave behind only a nominal amount of waste that’s smaller than a golf ball.

A used Hippo ECO-PAC occupies 96% less space than an old plastic cartridge!

As well as the environmental benefits, users also benefit financially. Because all 400ml Hippo ECO-PACs are priced to be either better value than their smaller 290ml plastic cartridge equivalents or exactly the same price; which means that in some cases consumers get up to 38% more product for the same cost.

Andy Baker demonstrating Hippo PRO3 ECO-PAC at the 2019 Painting & Decorating Show

Foil sausages have surprisingly been a credible packaging alternative for decades. But in the UK and Western Europe we’ve so far seen no desire from the dominant manufactures to drive these eco-friendlier form factors to market.

It seems that the barrier for the vast majority of big brand manufacturers has been their existing production infrastructure. They’re currently chained to plastic and this has changed very little over the years. Given this situation it’s no surprise that there’s been a general lack of enthusiasm and investment from them towards educating and incentivising consumers to use plastic alternatives.

Adhesives & Sealants Packaging Displayed on Shelves

So now it’s time to change, now is the time for merchants and retailers to start merchandising sausages on their shelves.

By offering sausages as a credible alternative to plastic we can help contractors, tradesmen and DIYers to evolve the way that they dispense their sealant & adhesive products. They deserve an alternative to the sea of plastic that they’re currently presented with when they walk into an outlet. Our planet deserves it.