Making things stick with sustainable science

Steve Severtson stands in his lab wearing a blue button up shirt, smiling.

Steve Severtson, PhD, knows a thing or two about “sticky” situations. As a professor and scientist in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering (BBE) at the University of Minnesota’s College Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS), he’s leading research in the area of industrial adhesives, focused on those partially or entirely made of materials derived from biomass (renewable organic material). 
 
According to a report published by Allied Market Research, the global demand for industrial adhesives, heavily used by the packaging, construction, and transportation industries, is growing. It generated $39 billion in 2019 and is projected to hit $54.9 billion by 2027. 
 
As governments worldwide enact regulations to control environmental pollution and more consumers continue to demand biodegradable products across supply chains, the market size for bio-based adhesives is expanding as well — with expected growth from $6 billion in 2020 to almost $10 billion by 2025. 
 
According to Severtson, companies implementing sustainable practices are moving to eco-friendly packaging, but current adhesive materials tend to interfere with processes such as recycling and composting. His research looks at the redesign of adhesives to promote a more circular consumption model for disposable products. Continue to the full article published on CFANS.