Chris Burdett, builder and co-founder of PipeSnug, looks at how practical it is to make the move away from single use plastic sealant and adhesive.
Whether it is high up your personal priority list or not, environmental issues are increasingly higher on the news agenda. They are probably becoming more important to many of your customers too. While I am no Greta Thunberg, my own personal position is that it is important the industry introduces working practices and materials that do the job well, but with minimal impact on the world around us.
So I was really interested to get to test out HB42’s Ultimate All-in-One Eco Foils. These 400ml foils replace the single use plastic tubes you usually buy sealant and adhesive in. Hilton Banks, the manufacturer of Eco Foils, tells me that over two million single use plastic cartridges are put into landfill every week in the UK and recent figures on plastic waste in the construction industry are shocking. 23 per cent of all the plastic consumed in the UK comes from the construction sector, with 20,000 tonnes of plastic being sent to landfill every year!
First of all it’s important to note that to use these foils, you need a different gun to your usual one for plastic tubes. You can pick these up very cheaply and it’s easy to load up, clean and reuse. You can also use them with plastic tubes if you need to, so it’s not like it’s a waste of money if you can’t get on with foils. You cut the foil end with scissors, load up the foil, and, with a gentle few trigger squeezes, you’re good to go. To be honest, it’s quick and easy and you get a very smooth flow of sealant too.
I was keen to see how powerful the sealant and adhesive is – as well as its quality – so one of my kitchen renovations in Hertfordshire was the location for this test.
Sealing the kitchen worktop, it is obvious this is good quality stuff. This sealant has good workability, which is important to me as I don’t use some brands because they are too sticky and hard to smooth. In the ‘old days’ I would lick my finger and smooth the sealant into a finish, but today, like most of us, I have a Grouting and Silicone Profiling kit which saves me ingesting anything horrible. Although strong, this sealant is safe, as it’s low in Volatile Organic Compounds, but still bonds to almost anything; it is also food safe, inhibits mould and cures in 24 hours.
So, after you have used the entire foil, you are left with a small, squashed piece of foil. These foils certainly save on skip space, and that means you save money too. They actually produce 96 per cent less waste than the single use tubes and you get 38 per cent more sealant than in the 290ml plastic tube. One of my main concerns is whether these foils will last in the back of van, but they are very durable it turns out! The gun stays clean too.
Overall I am really impressed and I would encourage you to give these Eco Foils a go and change. I can see a time in the next few years when, just like in other industries, the pressure to eradicate single use plastics becomes unstoppable. Before then, cut your waste and save a bit of cost with these HB42 Eco Foils.