Pressure Sensitive Carton Sealing Tape
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Applicable to all non-custom printed tape.
EcoEnclose offers several eco-friendly carton sealing tapes, including two types of Pressure Sensitive Tape.
Unlike Water-Activated Tape, Pressure Sensitive Tape (PST) consists of film and a tacky substance that adheres to a given surface when light pressure is applied. Most tapes you use at home - masking tape, duct tape, Scotch tape – are PST.
Our Pressure Sensitive Tapes work well for low volume applications and are especially suitable for presentation style eco-friendly shipping boxes - including our tab locking boxes and literature mailers. The tape itself is not recyclable, but the tape does not inhibit the substrate it is put on from being recycled. Explore our Water-Activated Tape for higher-volume applications.
Check out our Guide to Eco-Friendly Packing Tape to learn about how to choose a sustainable packing tape and packing tape end-of-life.
PRESSURE SENSITIVE TAPE OPTIONS
Kraft Flatback Tape: Recommended for paper-based pressure sensitive tape. The unique blend of paper backing and pressure-sensitive natural and synthetic rubber adhesive is easy to tear.
Cello Tape: Plastic tape remains the industry standard because it is the easiest to come by. We've married a cellophane backing with a natural and synthetic rubber adhesive. It is uniquely and entirely plant-derived, renewable, and industrially compostable.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Water-Activated Tape vs Pressure Sensitive Tape
There are two main categories of carton sealing tape. Water-activated tape (WAT), also known as gummed tape, is a form of paper tape with a water-based chemical adhesive that is reactivated by water. Water-activated tape can be found in plain Kraft paper or with several layers of paper and fiberglass reinforcement. When the water-activated adhesive is applied to a carton, a capillary action bonds the tape to the carton. Pressure-sensitive tape (PST) consists of film and a tacky substance that adheres to a given surface when light pressure is applied. Most tapes you use at home - masking tape, duct tape, Scotch tape – are all PST.
This handy chart shows the pros and cons of each type of tape. Bottom line: WAT is stronger, tamper evident and performs well under all weather conditions. EcoEnclose uses WAT for its outgoing shipments for this very reason, because we typically ship out heavy boxes. However, for most small businesses that ship fairly lightweight items, PST is typically sufficient and allows for simpler operations.
| ||Water Activated Tape||Pressure Sensitive Tape|
||Extremely tamper resistant, as it cannot be peeled off and must be broken. If you’re received a box sealed with water activated tape, you know this! No box is completely tamper resistant though, as a fresh layer of tape on top of the tampering can hide this.
||Less tamper resistant, as pressure sensitive tape can be peeled off.
||Provides a strong seal. Typically, the box itself will break well before the tape will.
||Seal is not as strong; though is sufficient for most standard, lightweight boxes.
|Ease of use
||Requires tape to be activated by water, ideally with special dispensers designed for WAT.
||Tears easily by hand. Not compatible with a dispenser due to the high-tack adhesive.
||Often (though not in the case of EcoEnclose’s WAT), it is more expensive per foot than its PST counterparts. However, many argue that less WAT is used because of the strength of its seal, leading to equivalent or even lower total cost. Again, WAT would ideally be used in conjunction with a special dispenser, so it does have a higher up front cost than PST.
||Often (again, though not in the case of EcoEnclose’s tape options), it is less expensive per foot. however, people often double seal or use more tape than is needed leading to higher actual cost of use.
||WAT’s adhesive or strength does not change in cold or heat.
||PST’s adhesive effectiveness sometimes decreases in extreme – hot or cold – weather conditions.
The vast majority of packing tape is made with virgin materials. Additionally, options (like some of our ours) are technically industrially compostable and/or recyclable. However, when you’re looking for the most sustainable tape option, it is important to understand the disposal process for the material. The majority of boxes in the US are recycled (rather than composted).
The process of recycling corrugated boxes involves churning it up with water to make a slurry. In this process, adhesive and any polymers rise to the top and are skimmed off and disposed of. For this reason, the majority of materials in packing tape are likely to end up in a landfill, even if they are technically recyclable or industrially compostable. Therefore, we recommend focusing predominantly on how tape is made when choosing the most sustainable option.