If you've taken a look at our website, you've probably noticed that some of our cardboard products are coated. Typically, it involves a PE coating or a PLA coating. In this blog, we delve deeper into another type of coating, namely an aqueous coating, and answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
What is an aqueous coating and why is it used in food packaging?
Aqueous coatings are not made of water, but they are called so because they are water-based. What distinguishes aqueous coatings from conventional coatings is the way they are applied to the product. Normally, PLA (polylactic acid) or PE (polyethylene) coatings are glued or sprayed onto the paper, resulting in a coating on the outer layer of the paper.
In the case of an aqueous coating, it is applied as paint or pigment, with the majority of the liquid being absorbed into the paper fibers. This means that only a thin layer of the coating is needed to create the necessary barrier for packaging and protecting food and beverages. This makes a water-based coating suitable for food packaging and drink cups.
Why do many manufacturers choose aqueous coatings over other types?
The answer lies in efficiency. Aqueous coatings require significantly less material to be leak-proof compared to traditional coatings such as PE or PLA. Currently, a water-based coating requires about 6 grams per square meter, while PE requires at least 15 grams per square meter, and PLA requires 30 grams per square meter. This also makes aqueous coatings more environmentally friendly.
Is a water-based coating plastic-free?
Although aqueous coating is an environmentally friendly choice and uses significantly less plastic than some traditional coatings, it is important to know that it is not entirely plastic-free. The composition contains thermoplastic materials that, after the water evaporates, leave a thin layer on the paper cup. This layer consists of plastics that are essential for the waterproofing and structure of the cup.
Does applying an aqueous coating affect the quality of a product?
Water-based coatings are extremely reliable and fortunately have no impact on the taste or odor of the product.
However, a challenge arises with aqueous coatings and food when it comes to alcoholic beverages. Many coffee cups nowadays come with a water-based coating. When this coating comes into contact with alcohol, the risk of leakage significantly increases compared to coffee or tea. So, if you plan to serve a lot of mulled wine or coffee with liqueur, it might be wiser to choose a different cup.
At TakeAware, we offer a diverse selection of coffee cups, including variants with PE, PLA, or aqueous coatings. Explore our reusable cups as well.