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Why switch to water activated paper tape

Why switch to water activated paper tape

PVC and Polypropylene plastic tape is increasingly being substituted through a new and more eco-friendly paper based alternative: Water Activated Paper Tape

I am Simon McIntyre from Woodruff & Co and this is the story of water activated paper tape. Australians may not be familiar with water activated paper packing tape (or WAT), however it’s been used for decades in other countries such as Canada and the USA. Probably the most common reference point I can give you is Amazon. If you have received a delivery from Amazon recently, the box would have been sealed with a strip of their custom printed water activated paper tape*. What is water activated tape and how does it work?

What is water activated paper tape?

Water activated tape consists of a strip of paper (either white or kraft) with a vegetable based adhesive on one side. When water is applied to the adhesive, through either a special tape dispenser or a sponge, the glue becomes activated and forms a permanent bond with the cardboard after being applied. Simple! Five key benefits of water activated paper tape: 

1. Impact on the environment

By far, environmental benefits are the driving reason that the majority of our customers decide to make the change from petroleum based poly tape to paper tape. Not only is WAT easily recyclable with curbside cardboard collection, it's also much easier to produce from a manufacturing perspective, as it’s made from a renewable material: paper. Paper tape from Woodruff and Co is compostable, and made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper.

2. Greater options for product design

Businesses are increasingly focusing on their packaging as an extension of their brand. Customised packaging has become an important factor for brands that sell primarily online, and when an unboxing experience is the first physical touchpoint between the brand and their consumer. Water activated paper tape can be customised in low volumes with a digital printing process - a single roll of kraft tape can be easily and cost effectively customised with a logo. Larger bulk water activated paper tape purchases allow a broader range of design options like multi-colour printing and printing on reinforced paper tape for heavier parcels.

3. Increased parcel security

Water activated packing tape plays an important role in helping to decrease item theft. The adhesive gum in water activated tape seeps into the inner layer of the cardboard box, making a tamper-evident seal. Unlike standard plastic tape, no amount of pressure will separate the tape from the box, meaning parcels are safe and secure. For high volume use, you can get heavy duty tape dispensers as well. 

4. Increased strength for sealing heavy boxes

Water activated tape is much stronger than you may think! A single strip is strong enough to securely seal parcels weighing up to 15kg. Paper tape also comes in an option of fibreglass reinforced where strands of fibreglass criss-cross across the inside of the tape to increase its strength, meaning it’s able to handle parcels weighing up to 25kg.

5. Faster tape application rate

In addition to environmental, design and security benefits, water activated tape also provides advantages with increased parcel packing rate. Better Packages (the world leader in water activated paper tape dispensers) claim a 20% increase in packer performance when using water-activated tape and a dispenser versus a hand-held tape gun. 

*Amazon tape is reinforced with fibreglass, an option only necessary for heavy duty packaging

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