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As a consumer, you may have questions about why there are adhesives in baby diapers, feminine hygiene, and adult incontinence products. There are many reasons, and we are happy to share them with you.  

It all goes back to what you (and consumers like you) expect from today’s disposable hygiene products. You want your diapers and pads to keep you and your loved ones dry, feel soft, be thin, and hold up to the demands of daily life. Many pieces must work together—and be held together—to make this happen. Adhesives play a very important role in doing just that!

 

Absorbency without leaks

Adhesives help prevent leaks by keeping the fluffy absorbent fibres and/or super-absorbent powder in the middle (core) of the traditional diaper, pull-on pant diaper, or pad. Adhesives are also used to hold the many strands of elastic in place around the legs and waist areas of the diaper or pant. By securing the elastics under stress from weight and movement whilst the diaper is being worn, the elastic attachment adhesive helps to stop anything from leaking out.

.. and we shouldn’t forget the wetness indicator that tells you when to change the diaper so it doesn’t become over-full … that’s an adhesive too.

 

Comfort and durability throughout the day

Disposable hygiene products need the right adhesives to give you comforts like stretchy legs, cuffs, and waistbands for a great fit. The adhesives need to be both strong and flexible, so they can bend, stretch, and return to their original shape without ever letting go.

 

Hot-melt adhesives help meet consumer expectations 

The best adhesives to give you the features you want in a disposable diaper or pad are called hot-melt adhesives. They form a strong, flexible bond between the different elements of the product. Beyond that, they give you the elasticity, softness, and resistance that are needed for comfort and fit. If you own a hot glue gun, you've used a hot-melt adhesive yourself! 

The adhesives are applied when hot and then allowed to cool down to form a bond. And it doesn’t take much. One estimate says that adhesives are only about 3% of the diaper by weight, most of which doesn’t even touch the skin. 

Diaper producers like the ease of use that hot-melt adhesives offer and the incredible speed they can reach on production lines. This helps them meet demand without driving up costs that could be passed on to you.

 

Enabling innovation for better diapers and pads

Disposable hygiene manufacturers are continually exploring new ways to better satisfy consumers. That's why adhesives are constantly evolving. Can adhesives help enhance an existing product or bring new product ideas into reality? The answer is yes: They play a role in making several of the newer core designs possible. One example you may have heard of is a baby diaper with channels in the core. These can be thinner and have other advantages for keeping your baby dry.

 

How adhesives can help improve sustainability

As the industry works toward increasing the sustainability of disposable hygiene products, adhesives can help. For example, they:

  • Enable the use of renewable/sustainable materials
  • Enable a reduction in the weight of the diaper or pad (which means fewer resources are used)

As we move forward, Bostik’s research and development teams are investigating how adhesives can:

  • Be made based on sustainable technologies and materials
  • Contribute to the recycling of the diaper or pad, or to any other sustainable end-of-life scenario

Not all bonding solutions are created equal 

While there are some alternatives to adhesives available, their use can limit product design options for article producers, including:

  • Difficulties bonding soft, sustainable fibres like cotton 
  • Limitations with flexibility in choosing materials and designs

Other consequences for you as a consumer of these articles, can include:

  • Complications for recycling and composting
  • Uncomfortable hardness 

This is why Bostik works closely with disposable hygiene manufacturers to create the best adhesives to keep you—and the ones you care for—dry, comfortable, and satisfied.

Want to learn more? Read Hot-melt Adhesives in Disposable Hygiene (and Other Everyday Products).
 

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