In the single-use disposable hygiene industry, sustainability presents unique challenges, but the benefits can be equally great. Each change manufacturers make is multiplied by every article sold, so even incremental shifts really add up. What are industry players doing to meet sustainability goals? What should they be doing? What is the role of the consumer … or the government? In part 4 of our series on sustainability in Disposable Hygiene, Christophe Morel, Bostik’s Global Marketing Manager for Market Insights and Sustainable Innovation, joins host Jack Hughes to discuss how to improve end-of-life solutions for single-use products.
The Role of the Key Players in the Disposable Hygiene Industry
Experimentation in the business and technical aspects for circularity is taking place in the industry. But how are absorbent article manufacturers to implement guidelines and get everyone involved? Producers seek ways to influence the consumer, though a number of them believe governing bodies need to enforce regulations in this area. Timing can also be a problem, especially when products are banned before a solution is in place. Ultimately, there needs to be a balance, legal framework, and incentives.
When it comes to the role of disposable hygiene adhesives in supporting better end-of-life options, there are three main areas of opportunity. One is through use of bio-based materials such as with Bostik’s new product line, Nuplaviva™. The second is by reducing the weight of the product, thus using fewer resources. Third is designing products to facilitate more circular processing after use.
What Are the Most Circular End-of-Life Solutions?
Composting and recycling are two main end-of-life possibilities, but there are drawbacks to each. For example, with today’s technologies the benefits may not outweigh the costs, whether in energy use or CO2 emissions. There is no easy solution, but we as an industry need to keep looking into potential options. In an economy with limited resources, progress still needs to be made, one step at a time. But in the future, the key will not be in creating a single recyclable product, but rather implementing a process that is able to recycle any product. In that future, producers, suppliers, municipalities, and consumers will all play a role in developing and implementing solutions.
Outline of the Episode
[2:35] What are industry players doing to improve end-of-life solutions for disposable hygiene products?
[4:31] Pilot situations and experiments for sustainability around the world
[7:09] Governing bodies are enacting regulations to further sustainability efforts
[9:48] What role does the adhesive play in supporting end-of-life possibilities?
[14:40] Recycling as an option for end-of-life scenarios
[16:37] The current limitations of composting
[22:15] Market examples of efforts toward sustainability
[24:38] The importance of creating a process that can recycle any product
[25:30] The materials involved in the recycling process
[28:08] Can (or should) producers also take on the role of recycling?
Download our sustainability glossary, as mentioned in the podcast.
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Host: Jack Hughes
Music by Jonathan Boyle
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