Virtual Flexo Plant



In-line die cutting
Folder-gluer machine.

Adhesives are typically used for a type of binding called perfect binding. In this type of binding, an adhesive is applied to the backbone (spine) of the printing material, and then a cover if applied.

Best Management Practices & Pollution Prevention

Water-based and hot-melt adhesives help reduce VOC or HAP emissions compared to traditional solvent-based adhesives. Additionally, any waste material generated from cleanup is typically not hazardous waste, as compared to solvent-based adhesives, which are considered hazardous waste.

Using 100% solids (i.e., solventless) adhesives eliminates solvent emissions and drying requirements and consequently reduces the VOC or HAP emissions and energy consumption. Greater printing and laminating speeds can be obtained since the problem of insufficient drying, or trapped solvents, is eliminated. Additionally, the equipment required is often smaller than equipment required for solvent-based processes.

For access to vendors who may supply alternative materials and equipment, see the PNEAC Vendor Directory.

Environmental Regulations

All Containers Must Be Labeled
All Containers Must Be Labeled

Air Emissions

Solvent-based adhesives are subject to Clean Air Act and RCRA regulations because they can release VOCs and HAPs. Once a facility emits VOCs and HAPs above a certain level, then they are subject to permit and control requirements.


Waste disposal is also a concern as certain adhesives can be classified as hazardous wastes, which require special handling and disposal.


When utilizing water based adhesive systems, the glue waste and wastewater usually must be treated before being discharged into a sanitary sewer or must be shipped off site for disposal. This is due to the high biological oxygen demand (BOD) of the starches and other organic materials in the waste.

Health & Safety

Formaldehyde and vinyl acetate are hazardous materials and, if possible, should be eliminated from the adhesive formulation. If the formaldehyde and vinyl acetate cannot be eliminated from the glue formulation, employees should be monitored for exposure to excessive levels of formaldehyde and vinyl acetate, since these materials can lead to long term health affects.