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3M: Proactively "Green" for More than 40 Years

 Green Environment

Sustainable manufacturing is high profile news around the world, but for 3M Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division, it's not news at all. "Green" has been a 3M priority starting with the first-ever, water-based, contact adhesive developed by 3M more than 40 years ago. 3M™ Fastbond™ Contact Adhesive 30NF was an innovation then and today is compliant with the most stringent U.S. air quality requirements.

Building on its green history, 3M is expanding and accelerating the "greening" of product life cycles and encouraging participation so that everybody wins, whether in the role of producer, customer, supplier or simply a good neighbor. Wherever you look, you'll likely find 3M Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division helping people get more out of life at work, home and leisure.

Green benefits for builders and manufacturers

Sustainable manufacturing is being driven by increasing energy costs and customer demand for environmentally preferable products. However, the decision to "go green" also makes long-term economic sense for builders and manufacturers.

According to the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) rated projects can benefit builders in many ways:

  • Greater energy efficiency when the building is operational
  • Tax relief and lower permit fees
  • Lower interest and insurance rates
  • Higher-appraised-value properties
  • Faster occupancy rates due to greater demand
  • A better image in the community

Manufacturers can also reap benefits by switching to green adhesives from 3M:

  • Reduced flammability and fire marshal issues by using water-based adhesives
  • Fewer controlled substances to manage
  • No transportation restrictions when using water-based adhesives
  • Improved worker safety with low VOC (volatile organic compound) adhesives

At the same time, businesses are increasingly exercising their social responsibilities. Many of them prefer suppliers that share similar green objectives. Incorporating green 3M Adhesives can be an important part of making products green and opening the door to a new universe of customers.

Measuring and substantiating green using LEED®

Low VOC green leaf

Nearly everyone agrees that building "green" is a great idea, but how can the level of "greenness" achieved by a building be measured and substantiated? That's what LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) was designed to do. Developed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED® is a rating system that awards points to buildings if they meet specific green criteria in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor air quality.

The meaning of GREENGUARD™ Certification

Greenguard logo

"GREENGUARD" is the designation given to cured products that meet rigorous standards for low-emitting materials. The GREENGUARD Certification ProgramSM is an industry-independent, third-party testing program administered by the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI), an ANSI-authorized standards developer. GEI establishes acceptable air standards for indoor products, environments and buildings. Its mission is to improve public health and quality of life through programs that improve indoor air. The first GREENGUARD Certification was awarded in 2002. In 2005, GEI announced the GREENGUARD Children & Schools CertificationSM standard, which created the most rigorous product emissions criteria available today.

High performance green adhesives for numerous applications

As the "green building" revolution spreads worldwide, builders and manufacturers are seeking products to help meet their new green goals. 3M's portfolio of high-performance products includes a wide variety of high-solids, low VOC as well as GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified® adhesives that can help builders and manufacturers pursue (LEED®) rated projects. Today, 3M has fifteen adhesives that have been certified to the GREENGUARD Children & Schools CertifiedSM) standard-the highest product emissions certification offered by UL Environment.

3M green products can be used for bonding with tape or adhesive, masking, packaging, sealing, or bundling/reinforcing. They have applications in a wide range of markets including appliances, automotive, construction, electronics, furniture, marine, maintenance/repair/operations, and point of purchase/display, signs/graphics, specialty vehicle, windows/doors and woodworking.

3M support makes going green easy

green building

Product designers and manufacturing engineers rely on 3M Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division for design flexibility, more efficient production and superior end use performance. However, going green is often easier said than done. That's why 3M provides superior training and support for the adhesives industry. 3M technical experts are available to work with your manufacturing engineers to make sure our adhesives deliver the performance you need and perform to the highest possible standards.

We are eager to work with you. Please contact us by email to discuss your project or call: 800-362-3550.

To learn more, see the 3M brochure Low Emissions. High Standards. Going Green Made Easy (PDF, 404KB).

For more information about 3M's commitment to the green movement, go to:

For more information on building green, go to:

For 3M product data:

3M's Pollution Prevention Pays (3P) Program

3M's commitment to the green movement extends beyond GREENGUARD™ Certified adhesives. 3M Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division is part of a global corporation that takes responsibility not only for performance that customers expect, but the environmental impact that comes with large volume manufacturing.

The 3M Pollution Prevention Pays (3P) program helps prevent pollution at the source—in products and manufacturing processes—rather than removing it after it has been created. It includes strong environmental programs for climate change, water management and waste management. Since 1975, the 3P program has prevented more than 2.7 billion pounds of pollutants and saved nearly $1.2 billion based on aggregated data from the first year of each 3P project. Since 2000, 3M Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division has completed 173 3P projects.

Committed to "Green" Throughout the Product Life Cycle


1. R&D for greener technology

3M Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division invest in the following:

  • Building "cradle to grave" product life cycle analysis, including in-depth raw material chemical data
  • Expanding its product line compliant with REACH, the European Community regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical substances
  • Working with raw materials from renewable resources
  • Investigating innovative, new, biodegradable raw materials for tapes
  • Adhesives and tapes for use with low surface energy materials with little or no surface preparation and the associated solvents or abrasive dust

2. Sustainable manufacturing

Using less energy to produce a product
Since 2000, 3M Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division have reduced energy use by 50%. In addition, the division has re-engineered and optimized temperature controls in its packaging tape production and reduced energy per pound of output by 28%.

Reducing VOC emissions
3M Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division have also reduced volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions by 78% since 2000. Its manufacturing plants in the U.S. have reduced solvent emissions by 25% from its 2006 baseline and are continuing to work on more solvent reduction programs.

Reducing waste
Since 2000, 3M Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division have reduced waste by 34%. In 2006, 3M Monrovia tape plant was awarded the California Waste Reduction Awards Program (WRAP) sponsored by the California Integrated Waste Management Board, the state's leading authority on recycling and waste reduction.

Enhancing biodiversity at 3M locations
3M's Greenville tape plant has received certification from the Wildlife Habitat for exceptional habitat management and environmental education programs at corporate sites.

3. Greener end use

3M Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division also make greener end use a priority. Some examples include:

Product endorsements and certifications

  • Fifteen GREENGUARD™ Certified 3M Adhesives
  • More than 40 3M Adhesives and Tapes that help contribute to LEED® EQ credits

Product air emissions

  • Hundreds of low- or no-VOCs 3M Adhesives and Tapes
  • More than 20 California Air Resources Board (CARB) and South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) compliant 3M™ Adhesives during application

Energy, materials and cost savings

  • A full line of repulpable splicing tapes for the paper and print industry
  • Water-based and 100% solids pressure sensitive adhesive applications requiring less or no heat and ventilation compared to solvent-based and hot melt adhesive systems
  • Use of durable adhesive and tape products in assembly leading to longer service life and, ultimately, less material consumption
  • Specially designed adhesives allow for the use of less expensive substrates such as polypropylene or other hard-to-bond reusable thermoplastics
  • Adhesives and tapes for use with low surface energy materials with little or no surface preparation and the associated solvents or abrasive dust

4. Greener disposal

Disposal is another key aspect of 3M's green management program, including:

  • Recyclable packaging after use
  • Selected newer products available with less packaging material than former products
  • 100% of products that meet stringent U.S. air quality regulations and industry chemical requirements for PVC, heavy metals, halogens and others components

3M and Fastbond are trademarks of 3M Company. The GREENGUARD INDOOR AIR QUALITY CERTIFIED Mark is a registered certification mark used under license through the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute. LEED® is a registered trademark of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

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