Still not sure if Water Activated Tape is right for you? Not sure which one to select for your business? Read on for more guidance...
WAT versus 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.
||Does not require any special dispenser to use.
||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 biodegradable 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 biodegradable. Therefore, we recommend focusing predominantly on how tape is made when choosing the most sustainable option.
All of our Water Activated Tape can be custom printed at minimum order quantities of 15 cases. You can order single or two color prints through our website. If you are looking for something more complex, such as a flood coat or three or four color print, please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note that if you are ordering custom branded water activated tape with us for the first time, the cost of the art plate will be added to your order. You will need a plate for each color you are printing, and art plates are $200 each. So, if you have a two color design, you'll see $400 added to your order.
When placing your order, you'll be asked to upload an art file. Please ensure your art file meets the following specifications:
- Design your artwork around a 12” drum, leaving a ¼” gap in between repeating designs
- Art file must be in Vector format
- All fonts must be outlined
- All Supporting files must be embedded
Note that PDF previews may render differently in browser previews and phones. Proof colors will vary from monitor to monitor and are only used as reference.
Stock ink colors are available, and custom PMS matching is available at $130.00/color
If you are printing more than two colors, the pricing will be an additional $3.50 per case above the 2 color pricing you see (4 colors max).
Flood coats: For white/light flood, add $12.00/case. For black/dark flood, add $17.00/case.
Shipping and Lead Times
Stock items will ship 1-2 days after your order is placed. Custom branded water activated tape will ship 3-4 weeks after your order and artwork is approved.Free shipping to the continental United States is available at 60+ cases.