Is Elmer’s Glue Biodegradable?

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: November 19, 2021
  • Time to read: 4 min.

We all know how Elmer’s glue is important in our daily projects around the house, classroom, or office. 

You can use it for arts and crafts. Elmer’s glue is perfect for getting the job done – simply because it’s washable, non-toxic, and safe. 

I normally use Elmer’s glue to create slime at my home. 

But is Elmer’s glue biodegradable? More often than not, it’s biodegradable. 

In this post, we look at different properties associated with Elmer’s glue. 

Let’s find out!

What is Elmer’s Glue Made Out Of?

Elmer’s glue is an aqueous emulsion of polyvinyl alcohol, polyvinyl acetate, and propylene. 

Best known as white glue, school glue, wood glue in the US, Elmer’s glue is just an aliphatic rubbery polymer.

So, it’s made from a host of chemical reactions. The base ingredient, which is vinyl acetate undergoes a chemical reaction to form PVA.

It’s widely used in our homes, schools, and businesses to bond most materials like paper, wood, and fabric.

Is Elmer’s Glue Toxic?

Elmer’s glue is acid-free, making it non-toxic. 

Most household glues are made not to be poisonous. 

Nonetheless, glue poison is still possible when you intentionally breathe in glue fumes in an attempt to taste some kind of drug.

Glue made for industries is the most dangerous. 

Having said that, stay away from it while you manage an actual poison exposure.

Is Elmer’s Clear Glue Biodegradable?

It depends. What makes glue biodegradable depends on the composition. 

Elmer’s clear glue is derived from natural and renewable materials, making it 90 percent biodegradable and sustainable

Elmer’s is a homemade glue. You can prolong its shelf life by adding vinegar. 

It’s, therefore, a non-toxic glue. 

But those made from EVA, which is plastic polymer, are not biodegradable.  

What type of Elmer glue is biodegradable today? You’ll get two common water-soluble polymer types – ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) and polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH).

Polyvinyl alcohol is readily biodegradable. 

People use it in many conventional adhesive systems, such as blending it with PVAC for wood adhesives. 

Is Elmer’s Glue Eco Friendly?

Elmer’s glue is earth-friendly because it’s made from a natural formula. 

A good example is Elmer’s School Glue. It’s:

  • Safe to use
  • Bottles are made from post-consumer recycled materials
  • 90 percent natural glue formula
  • Washable and chemical-free 
  • The label is made from 25 percent recycled paper
  • Dries clear
  • Bonds to paper, ceramics, fabric, and more
  • Recyclable packaging

Liquid glue is used in various applications because it has little impact on the environment. 

The fact it’s safe to handle makes it more popular.

Other chemicals are added to polyvinyl acetate glue to achieve the desired consistency. 

Everyone will agree that everything we use today somehow contains some traces of crude oil. 

Regardless of that, a number of microorganisms like yeast, algae, bacteria, and lichens actually help degrade polyvinyl acetate.

Elmer’s glue may not be 100% eco-friendly, but it’s not the worst thing for our planet. 

There’s no evidence that crude oil by-products are detected in our environment. 

That sounds a good thing indeed.

Is Elmer’s Glue Compostable?

Can you add Elmer’s glue to your compost pile? As mentioned earlier, most ingredients are renewable.

 Apparently, Elmer’s glue is compostable. 

Better still, it’s non-toxic. Feel comfortable when adding it to your compost bin. 

Elmer’s school glue is a good example that features 99% natural ingredients. 

With that, there’s a demand for natural glue (adhesives) from eco-conscious teachers and parents. 

The American-grown corn is one component that decomposes when exposed to soil.

While some still opt for Elmer’s traditional glue, schools will continue to use natural adhesives to suit pupils’ art and craft needs. 

Our Elmer’s Glue Bottles Recyclable?

Yes, the bottles are recyclable. They’re made from 30 percent post-consumer recycled materials. 

The label also contains 25 percent recycled paper that’s printed with ink (soy-based ink). 

Consumers can recycle both traditional and natural Elmer’s School Glue bottles at home. 

In schools, teachers and students can recycle sticks and glue bottles through Elmer’s recycling program. 

And in turn, they can earn a reward for participating in sustainable practices. 


While most households use glue, be sure to know the type of glue you’re using. 

Choose natural or traditional-based glue that contains 90% renewable ingredients. 

Elmer’s glue is a perfect choice.

If you’re eco-conscious, choose to go with glue products that degrade.

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