Adhesive tapes explained

Sometimes, when starting out, or changing product base, your packaging usage changes and therefore you need some advice to guide you to what's best to use. Well don't worry, we've got you covered. If this doesn't give you what you need, please give our knowledgeable team a ring here and they'll give you a helping hand.

Some common uses of packing tape.

I know it sounds very naïve, but a lot of people don't know what each packing tape is generally used for, so below is a brief rundown.

Plastic (Polypropylene, Vinyl) Tapes are the most common tapes out being used today, as they tend to have a range of adhesives (the glue) - see below - which are good for a wide range of applications, but can also be tailored at manufacturer for a specific demanding application.

Paper tapes, whether S/A (Self Adhesive) or WATT (Water Activated Tapes) tend to be less common but we predict in the next five years will be extremely popular for most applications as they have good green credentials and give the same kind of bond as Plastic tapes. Just without the environmental damage! So if you're thinking of changing tapes, we suggest moving onto Paper tapes to make sure that when the Plastic Tax comes in March 2022 you are already using a sustainable, non-taxable product.

All the Adhesive Tapes you need to know about.

If you already buy adhesive tapes, or have looked around our tapes section on the website, you would realise the enormity of what's out there to buy and what is meant for what tasks. We try to explain the different tapes below in simple and short bullet points, but if you would like to know more, please do get in touch.

(PP) Polypropylene:

  • PP Solvent: normally a higher grade tape with better qualities for harsher environments such as chilled and ambient environments. Also great for using on recycled boxes, or reused boxes. PP Solvent has a thicker adhesive than most PP tapes making it the most un-environmentally friendly!
  • PP Acrylic: most common PP tape used around the UK today. It has a well balanced backing and adhesive, with excellent strength properties and a fast adhesion time. PP Acrylic is one of the more eco-friendly PP tapes as it has a thinner adhesive and less carbon footprint is produced in it's making.
  • PP Hot Melt: fairly unusual tape, that doesn't often get asked for. Hot melt has a very fast adhesion time and a very strong adhesive but needs to be used in moderate environments. For the average packing house, this tape will be OK.


  • One of the most commonly used tapes for printing on as it gives a consistent finish, quiet and easy to use. Unfortunately it's only available in 66m rolls, but is a great starter option if you haven't had printed tape before.

Kraft S/A Paper tapes:

  • New eco-friendly tape on the block. Been around for 2-3 years now and cuts all plastic waste out of the process. With a hot melt adhesive for faster and stronger adhesion quicker, this makes Kraft paper tapes a very attractive option. We highly recommend and support your move to Kraft paper tapes :) Remember: you don't need any machinery for Kraft paper tape as it's self-adhesive meaning you can use your usual tape guns.

Machine Paper tapes (WATT Tapes):

  • Next paper tape up from the Self-Adhesive Kraft paper tapes and have to be used in conjunction with a machine or table top water dispenser as these tapes use Water to activate the adhesive. Machines can be found under "tape dispensers".

So hopefully that has shed some light on the wide area of packing tapes.

If you want to know more get in touch. Otherwise please feel free to request a sample or order!