Alternatives to Plastic Tape / Sellotape

Sellotape or sticky tape is not an eco-friendly choice for sealing. It contains polypropylene (plastic) and cannot be recycled. We find some great conscious alternatives such as paper tape, water-activated tape, 100% plant-based tape and sellotape zero plastic, and where to buy them.

Table of Contents

In a previous article, we provided a number of plastic-free packaging alternatives to sustainably ship your parcel.

This guide will tell you how to seal your package without using plastic. 

Sellotape, a.k.a. sticky tape, is not eco-friendly as it contains polypropylene (plastic) and cannot be recycled.

So, what can you use instead?

Paper tape

There are plenty of options available on the market for the so-called paper tapes. These products are typically renewable kraft paper-based but also contain natural rubber (tree-derived). 

For instance, Peace With The Wild offers a compostable and vegan-friendly tape, which comes with no packaging and can be recycled.

A different formula is used for the tesapack® paper ecoLogo®, which is a blend of recycled cardboard, recycled fibres and bio-based materials (60%). Plus, its adhesive coating is free from solvents and other toxic chemicals.

Buy from: Peace With The Wild, Anything but plastic, The Plastic Free Shop, The Earth Shop, Naturally Wrapt, Tesa

Image source: Progress Packaging

Water-activated tape

Alternatively, you could opt for water-activated (or gummed or brown paper) tape. This generally consists of a starch-based adhesive over a paper backing.

What does water-activated tape mean?

The adhesive becomes sticky only when wet, therefore its surface doesn’t need to be covered with wax which is not compostable.

If you want to brand your boxes in a fancy and eco-friendly fashion, Noissue Custom packing tape is what you’re after. The paper used for their gummed tape is Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)-certified and the product is acid-free and made from 100% recycled material.

Maxpack’s brown paper tape is biodegradable and 100% recyclable. According to the supplier, there are 10 reasons why you should choose their water activated over a standard plastic-containing tape. Besides being more eco-friendly, these include cost-effectiveness, a stronger seal and a higher tolerance to humid and freezing conditions.

Buy from: Noissue, Maxpack, Naturally Wrapt

100% Plant-based tape

EcoEnclose Cello Carton Sealing Tape is 100% plant-based, renewable, and biodegradable, including only cellulose (backing) and natural rubber (adhesive) as components.

Buy from: EcoEnclose

Sellotape Zero Plastic

This plastic-free version of sellotape contains only plant based, renewable ingredients, such as cellulose and natural rubber (or glue). The tape, including the core and the packaging, is fully compostable.

Buy from: Office Oracle, Hobbycraft, Sainsburys

So, what is the best alternative to sellotape?

Sellotape Zero Plastic is a versatile product and can be used to stick together small items, such as cards, envelopes, parcels etc. 

For shipping bigger packages (e.g. corrugated cartons), where you need a stronger seal, you’d be better off with either a paper or water-activated tape.

Also, both The Plastic Free Shop’s eco paper and Maxpack’s gummed tape are suitable for cold storage.

As you can see, you can easily switch to a plastic-free tape and improve your business sustainability – but make sure you choose the most appropriate one for your needs.

Further reading

Sophie Comninos
Author: Sophie Comninos

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