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Sticking to Sustainable Packing Tape

Colour matched pantone printed blue custom tape for VRUM premium rum drinks brand, made from white kraft paper, 100% recyclable.

It’s hard to think of packaging without also thinking of tape. Even if you go for the type of box that pops up and slots together practically by itself, it’s probably the case that some of kind of tape will still be required, perhaps to cover tabs and give your customers that little bit of extra assurance about the security of what’s inside.

And tape’s just tape, right? Wrong. There’s tape and then there’s really good tape (find a selection on our website including our very own custom printed packing tape). However, before we consider the pros and cons of the various options, let’s first take a brief look at tape’s origins.

In the beginning there was glue

You might be surprised to know that tape’s history stretches back to China in 618BC when adhesive was used for what is thought to be the very first time. Of course, this glue wasn’t the kind we’re used to today; it was made from anything that was sticky, the bladder of a sturgeon, for example, or the ground up horn of an ox.

But all this experimentation led to the invention, many hundreds of years later, of the first adhesive tape. Developed for surgical procedures way back in 1845 by Dr Horace Day, it led in 1930 to the invention of the transparent sticky tape that is still indispensible to so many of us today.

Recyclability and waste management

The clear sticky tapes we’ve been using for almost one hundred years might have revolutionised how we wrap birthday and Christmas presents, but unfortunately, it’s come at a huge environmental cost. This kind of tape contains polypropylene, a type of plastic which can’t be recycled and isn’t biodegradable. Millions of rolls end up in landfill and take hundreds of years to break down and they render wrapping paper unrecyclable as well. Technically, recycling sticky tape is possible, but such is the time, energy and money necessary to clean the glue off the cellophane so it can be reused, it’s totally counterproductive.

  • custom printed vinyl tape with solvent low noise adhesive

    Custom Printed Vinyl Tape 48mm x 66m

    £2.23 - £3.40
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  • Bespoke printed tape in acrylic plastic polypropelene or paper tape

    Custom Printed Paper Packing Tape 72mm x 50m

    £3.64 - £8.55
    Select options
  • Custom printed water activated tape

    Custom Printed Water Activated Tape

    Call for Price
    Read more

Today, luckily, there is an increasing number of viable, environmentally conscious sticky tape options on the market, including those we stock here at The Packaging Club. And switching to an eco-conscious tape option isn’t just good for the environment; the brown biodegradable option provides an opportunity for marketing your product in a way that just wouldn’t be possible with clear tape. More on that later… first, let’s take a look at some of the tape options we stock.

Biodegradable Kraft Tape

Custom printed eco friendly paper packing tape for Subscription boxes
Kraft Paper Packing Tape

It goes without saying that if you’re a business trying to act as sustainably as possible, then a biodegradable plastic free tape is a perfect addition to your packaging supplies. Our high performance, natural Kraft paper packing tape has an environmentally friendly, hot-melt adhesive, which is also fully biodegradable.

The high-tac, hot-melt used in this tape binds on contact making it perfect for ecommerce shipments where instant strong adhesion is essential in order to prevent bursting during transit. It’s easy to tear, but incredibly strong and suitable for use on virtually any type of cardboard.

Reinforced Gummed Paper Packing Tape

Reinforced Gummed Paper Packing Tape
Reinforced Water Activated Tape

This type of paper tape is exactly the same type of tape that Amazon uses on its shipments, so must be good! This reinforced water activated tape features moisture activated adhesive, but its environmental credentials remain equally as impressive as those of the Kraft hot-melt variety and it’s just as tough, tamper-proof and theft resistant. Fully recyclable, it’s ideally suited to a high output, ecommerce environment and due to its reinforced nature, it’s able to significantly add to box strength and rigidity, surpassing many acrylic tapes.

Eco Friendly Gummed Paper Packing Tape

eco friendy packing tape and dispenser
Standard Water Activated Tape

If your business is looking for a highly presentable, eco-friendly packing tape, then this water activated paper tape is an excellent option. The natural Kraft paper, with its gummed outer surface, will demonstrate to your customers how you’ve considered every detail of your packaging as far as sustainability is concerned.

Although there’s a reinforced version for extra protection (see above), this tape looks good too and it does the job; it seals packages efficiently and ensures they’re strong and tamper resistant, contributing to the safety of your products whilst they’re in transit.

Custom Printed Paper Tape - the Benefits of Branding.

Once you’ve selected the right tape for your packages, there’s another question: to brand or not to brand? And with brown Kraft tape – unlike with clear, plastic tape as earlier - this becomes a viable option at much lower volumes.

Personalising your packaging is an easy win when it comes to influencing how customers perceive your brand and in ecommerce - where opportunities to connect with customers are few and far between because of the very nature of the enterprise - branding establishes valuable relationships.

As ecommerce has grown in scale, so too have the possibilities for unique and personalised packaging. Branded tape might seem like a small detail, but it’s a straightforward option that could have a big impact. It helps differentiate a forward thinking business from its competitors and enables a brand to stand out in an online space that is increasingly crowded.

Check out The Packaging Club's custom printing packing tape here; we guarantee it's more affordable than you think and it will help your brand's personality shine.

First impressions shouldn’t count, but they do, especially when they’re unique and have an added wow factor. Products with packaging that has a strong visual identity will benefit from increased user-generated content. Shoppers – carefully curating their feeds and their own brand identity – are more likely to share images of things they purchase on social media if the unboxing experience looks good. And environmentally friendly tape helps make that happen and importantly, helps make it happen at an affordable price, with minimal extra effort.


If you’d like to use branded tape to promote your business’ profile and are interested in a simple print or even a more complex, full colour lithographic version, then get in touch. If you simply want tape to make your packaging more secure (and still just as sustainable) then take a look at what we have to offer.

Let yourself get into a sticky situation with The Packaging Club and talk to us today about your packing tape requirements. You won’t regret it.

This article was written by...

Jo Hilton

I studied at the University of St. Andrews and have an MA in French and German. For a number of years, I worked for a Swiss financial institution and lived in Hamburg, London, Zürich and NYC before retraining as a primary school teacher and settling with my family in Cambridgeshire. When I'm not at school, I write content for various blogs and edit academic research articles for clients at ETH Zürich and the University of Munich. I'm also in the process of completing a Masters in Crime and Thriller writing at the University of Cambridge, so behind me you'll find a trail of fictional dead bodies and actual biscuit wrappers.

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4 comments on “Sticking to Sustainable Packing Tape”

  1. Fantastic reading! One significant benefit of using customized printed tape is the cost-effective brand promotion. Additionally, it improves traceability, security, instructiveness, and identification, among other things. The best aspect is that the printed tape reflects the firm's professionalism, which leads to increased customer confidence.

  2. What an exciting read! Eco-friendly packaging tape is often produced from biodegradable, recycled materials, reducing the use of natural resources in manufacturing. Furthermore, the production process is becoming more efficient, cost-effective, conserves valuable resources and minimizes companies' negative impact on the environment.

  3. Excellent reading, Jo! As more customers become environmentally concerned, companies and businesses attempt to win them over by assuring bio-degradable packaging. Companies have recognized that eco-friendly plastic-free packaging tapes may minimize carbon footprint and raw material use. They are inexpensive, simple to use, and tamper-proof, which means they cannot be broken accidentally. The eco-packaging tape is ideal for shipping and e-commerce and for leaving a lasting impression on buyers.

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