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So...What is this Stuff?

Gelatin Netting Well, it's definitely not a fishing net, or a basketball net, and I'm pretty sure it's not a hair net. What you see in the above photo is pharmaceutical waste. L.D. Davis Industries recycles pharmaceutical waste gelatin to make our adhesive. Think of what's left over in a sheet of gelatin after your vitamin capsule has been manufactured. Capsules are made using hard gelatin filled with medicine, usually in small beads, and soft gelatin like a Vitamin E capsule.


Hard cap
Hard Capsule pills, usually used for medication.
Soft Gel caps
Soft Gel Capsules-we use the netting left over from their production

L.D. Davis purchases this scrap material from pharmaceutical and nutritional companies, then formulates many adhesives products used every day.

How do you Make Glue from Gelatin?

L.D. Davis is North America's premier and largest protein adhesive compounder. That means as an adhesive manufacturer, we go through a lot of pharmaceutical scrap.

We are the largest purchaser of recycled pharmaceutical gelatin in the United States. Pharmaceutical companies sell us their scrap, both in hard cap and soft gel netting form, as shown above. We help reduce their environmental impact by utilizing their waste gelatin, and they help us by providing us with the necessary materials we need to manufacture our animal glues at a lower cost-which means keeping prices down for our customers. The technical gelatin we produce from the netting goes through a few steps before it is turned into our animal glue:

  • It is inspected for quality as part of L.D. Davis Advantage Number 11, which is our implemented 12-point quality control system for all incoming raw materials and outgoing finished products.
  • In our lab, we mix in a special chemical that removes all color from the netting, which is usually colored with natural, water-soluble colors such as caramel, carob, carmine, and annatto. The coloring must be natural and water-soluble because, after all, this netting is what's left over after a pharmaceutical company produces gel caps that contain nutritional supplements such as Vitamin E.
  • The netting is then melted down into a mixture from which we produce our protein-based gelatin adhesives.

Prior to the 1970's, protein adhesives, or animal glues, were made from gelatin extracted from the hides and bones of cattle and pigs. While some animal glue is still made this way, a process that dates back thousands of years, the industry switched to the usage of pharmaceutical waste as the major raw material provider for gelatin about 40 years ago.

Staying Green

Use of pharmaceutical waste is another way that L.D. Davis Industries strives to produce green products and continue to be an environmentally-friendly company. For more information, please visit our website.


A Final Word...

As per Sal Polvere, our VP of Technical Services who has worked in the industry for about four decades, below is an actual photo of the waste gelatin prior to grinding....the rest of us think he may have gone off the deep end. At least he knows our glue like the back of his hand.

"Can't win them all, Sal!"

Topics: Adhesive Products, animal glue, Animal Glue, Book Binding Adhesive, bookbinding adhesive, Environmentally-Friendly, environmentally-friendly, Gelatin, gelatin, Glue, Green, Hide Glue, L.D. Davis, Protein Adhesive, protein adhesive