How Do Water Resistant Coatings Help In Today's Plastic Ban And Regulations?
Updated: Sep 10
The Government of India has attempted to regulate single-use plastics and ban SUP items multiple times. The ban or regulations won't solve the problem. However, unless we do not have alternatives to single-use plastics, these regulations are the only way to curb the plastic problem. Surprisingly researchers have developed water-resistant coatings which allow us to use paper, a sustainable and recyclable alternative, for packaging and some of our single-use plastic needs.
This article covers all you need to know about water-resistant coating and how they help in today’s plastic regulations. Read on!
Single-use Plastic and Environment
When seen plastic with regard to the environment and pollution, it creates a baneful impression. But that’s not entirely true. Components made out of plastics are rugged, and lightweight which in turn make the entire system energy efficient. Also, its metallic alternatives consume abundant water and electricity to be manufactured. All in all, plastic is quite helpful and also environment-friendly!
That brings us to the point that why plastic is a big concern then. The answer to it is Single-use plastics. They are super harmful to mother earth. SUP is used for a considerably short period of time before they end up in landfill and pollute the environment. Worse yet, the usage of SUP items is highest than ever.
Some SUP items can not simply be banned or regulated easily. For example, cigarette buds, Q-tip cotton swabs, cutlery items, milk pouches, shampoo sachets, food wrapping, labelling, and packaging. That said, the need of the hour is to find sustainable and environment-friendly alternatives to those.
The Government has imposed new regulations on the use of SUP items, but it doesn’t seem to have made any impact or even spread awareness. And Government should come up with new ways to tackle the issue.
Well, there’s good news as well. We have developed water-resistant coatings that can drastically reduce our dependence on single-use plastics. Let’s understand how.
What Is Water-Resistant Coating?
The water-resistant coating is a part of barrier technology. Plastic provides a great barrier with water, oil, and grease resistance to protect the consumables. The idea is to use a coating that provides the same properties when used to coat bio-degradable alternatives, for instance, paper.
The key properties of water-resistant coatings are:
You can refer to this research paper for thorough details. This water-based coating doesn’t affect the recyclability or repulpability of the paper used for packaging, labeling, or for other purposes.
Moreover, the coating has print receptibility and that offers more or less the same property as plastic. That means the coating doesn’t come at a cost of branding.
The composition and method of application vary with the purpose of using it. We will discuss it more in the upcoming section.
How Does Water-Resistant Coating Work?
Water-based coatings are basically chemical components dissolved at a certain proportion in water to get desired properties. When applied on the surface, it offers resistance as required.
The application of the water-based coating isn’t just limited to water-resistance properties. With variations in chemical composition, method of application of the coating, and other factors, it can be used to make coating oil-grease resistant or heat resistant too.
Some key parameters to be considered are coat weight, solid content, a coating method, drying conditions, COBB value (provides information on water absorption capacity), and KIT value (provides information on grease resistance).
Water-resistant coatings can be used for the following products and avoid using single-use plastics:
Envelopes for invoices
Paper bags for bakery and dry-food items
Packaging for fresh fruits and vegetables
Coffee cups and ice cream tubs
All envelopes made out of paper or lightweight cardboards have a transparent plastic lining for better printing and water-resistant property. So, a water-based coating can significantly reduce the usage of single-use plastic in envelopes.
Paper bags for bakery and dry-food items requires a heat seal inner layer and water-resistant outer layer of coating. Heat seal coating provides packaging of food products at temperatures as high as 140°C. That said, using water-based coatings can be of huge help in today’s plastic regulations.
Packaging for fresh fruits and vegetables does not require heal seal coating. Just water-resistant coating on the outside will do. It’s important to note that these coatings are FDA-compliant, recyclable, and repulpable.
If we talk about the sweet boxes, they require the inner surface to be grease resistant. The water-based coating can do the job. However, they are slightly different from water-resistant coatings. Similarly, ice cream tubs and coffee cups can be made out of paper with water-based coatings.
The paper cups for coffee and other beverages we use actually have a thin layer of Low-density polyethylene applied to achieve the desired properties. But they are not recyclable as we think they are. Using water-resistant and oil-resistant coatings, we can avoid using plastics on such items while they still do their job and are recyclable.
All in all, using water-based coatings on paper can replace the most dangerous single-use plastic items we use today. That significantly helps in addressing the global plastic problem. Nevertheless, there is a need to spread awareness about the harmful impacts of single-use plastic on the environment which will aid in mindful consumption of SUPs.
If you’re a business that can use water-resistant coatings for their products as an alternative, your search ends here. Check out our website Pemotech.in. Not just water-resistant coatings, we have solutions to your business’s labeling, packaging, and printing needs. Reach out to us now to get a quote.