Brands and countries

A growing demand for more sustainable products may have you considering updates to your disposable hygiene core. Increasing the positive impacts to individuals, society, the economy, and the environment is achievable. In fact, disposable hygiene products in general already offer many benefits for the first three. The biggest opportunities for improvement are presented in the area of the environment. 

In addition to process efficiency and energy reduction there are many options to pursue, including:

  • Reduction in the number and weight of materials
  • Increase in the use of renewable ingredients
  • Reduction in the dependence on fossil resources
  • Recyclability or reuse of the core or its components

Looking closely at all of these during the product design phase offers you the best chance of successfully improving the sustainability of the core and ultimately the entire product.


Reducing the number and weight of materials in your core

When manufacturers decide to reduce the weight of a disposable hygiene article, the core is a common target. Downgauging films and nonwovens such as the material used to wrap the core is one option. However, it may push the limits of what can be bonded without distortion from heat or production line speeds. Your adhesive supplier can help you choose the right adhesive and settings.

A shift to cores using a higher SAP (superabsorbent polymer) to fluff ratio is another trend. Newer configurations, such as channel core and pre-compound core, are also gaining traction in the market. These can use less fluff or none at all. As fluff is reduced, it is not uncommon to see the adhesive support both the core’s integrity and performance in new ways. 

There are some indications that the channel core may improve absorbency and comfort, and reduce rewet. Each would be considered a benefit to the consumer.


Increasing the use of sustainable materials (and reducing dependence on fossil resources)

Let’s address the elephant in the room. The trend towards reduced fluff or fluff-free cores is removing more and more of the most bio-based material present in a diaper for decades: the fluff pulp. While removing the fluff has benefits as it reduces the weight and bulkiness of a diaper, which is environmentally good,
manufacturers are also exploring the use of different materials in their cores. Among them are bio-based substrates, such as PLA, that can aid in reducing the core’s carbon footprint. Another option is the inclusion of more sustainable materials in the core. For example, we have seen bamboo used in the topsheet or as an alternative to fluff pulp. Choosing the right adhesives can help you easily incorporate these materials into your core design. 
SAP is another material in the core that is subject to the trend for greater sustainability. With increased opportunities for mass balance certification, there are options available now for manufacturers to make more sustainable choices regarding this valuable core component.

Bostik is also offering adhesives designed with sustainability in mind. The Nuplaviva™ series, for example, features adhesives with bio-based ingredients. Other renewable options are already in development.


Improving circularity for disposable hygiene products

When discussing the circular economy, a common mantra is ‘Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.’ There is currently limited viable infrastructure to recycle disposable hygiene articles. A number of pilot programmes are underway to explore options. In some, post-consumer waste diapers are being collected. These programmes are testing methods for removing human waste, sterilising, recycling diapers, and even reusing fluff. One interesting improvement to these processes would be to have the adhesive facilitate debonding of components. This also holds true for recycling of post-industrial waste diapers in order to recycle raw materials and participate in zero-waste-to-landfill strategies.


Achieving a more sustainable core in your disposable diapers

Whatever core configuration you choose, Bostik has numerous adhesive solutions to help you achieve your goals. Our scientists work tirelessly to assist you in finding better ways to manufacture the products your consumers have come to rely on. Involving our adhesive experts early in the process of sustainable core design and development is recommended.


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CODE: CO-22A08