I am often times asked about the greenness of the plastic tapes we offer on our Web store site and the honest answer is really, not much.
One of our products, the #500 clear industrial carton sealing tape is heavy duty and offers a natural rubber-based adhesive so theoretically you might use less of it to properly seal your boxes and using a natural adhesive is always better than an acrylic or synthetic adhesive. However, there is really very little green about our plastic tape or for that matter, anyone else’s plastic tape. We offer it on our Web store, because customers expect box suppliers to also carry tape to seal the boxes so really it is a matter of customer convenience.
The Advantages of Plastic Tape
Pressure sensitive, plastic tape has several advantages that include:
• Can be very inexpensive, but usually you get what you pay for, so be careful with any tape pricing that is too good to be true.
• Convenient and simple to use – no water or expensive dispenser required. In fact, many plastic tape suppliers provide free hand dispensers with the purchase of their tape which typically does not indicate either product is of decent quality.
• Portable – a true advantage compared to reinforced paper, water activated tape (WAT). You can seal boxes anywhere.
• Automatable – high speed case sealing equipment that uses pressure sensitive plastic tape is readily available.
The Advantages of Water Activated Tape
For eco minded customers committed to sustainability our recommendation is almost always to use WAT, reinforced paper tape. It is made of paper which is a natural, renewable product, and the adhesive is natural as well. That means it can be recycled and re-pulped along with the boxes it is adhered to, without any time consuming stripping.
It also ranks much higher on the eco obvious scale which simply means people easily recognize it as a green product, especially compared to plastic tape. It is the “eco consistent” way to seal your green boxes, filled with green products for your green minded customers.
It’s more effective!
Simply put, WAT does a better job. The adhesive on WAT is not only natural; it also bonds to a corrugated box better, especially if the box is under-filled. We have all seen cases where tape is virtually suspended over the box flaps and is not making any real contact with either major case flap. That is not good for many reasons, including pilferage, damage and even infestation.
When asked about the strength of paper tape I always point to two industries – printing and hardware. They pack some of the heaviest boxes ever filled and those industries continued using paper tape long after others shifted to plastic tape, primarily for economic or convenience reason. The printing and hardware industries today continue to use reinforced paper WAT because they have less damage claims and far fewer complaints.
An Application Analysis Is Always Recommended
Regardless of what box sealing tape you currently use we don’t suggest change without a complete review of your usage and if necessary, testing. What you pack, how you pack it, and even where you pack your boxes can influence what product is truly best for you.