Strangely enough, paper packing tape is the oldest type of packing tape in use, apparently invented by Thomas Edison of light bulb fame in 1912. The development of plastics saw this new ‘wonder material’ replacing almost everything else for a while and paper tape fell out of fashion.
But as the world tries to reduce its dependence on and consumption of plastics, gummed paper tape is enjoying new-found popularity; in particular, the gummed paper tape that Edison invented 100 years ago.
Paper tape falls into two categories:
paper tape with a pressure-sensitive adhesive and
gummed paper tape with a starch-based, water-activated adhesive. Both are made from kraft paper, a natural material from sustainable sources which is incredibly strong even when damp, yet can be torn easily by hand.
Aesthetically, it also coordinates well with the finish of uncoated cardboard for a more natural organic look. And when it comes to recycling, paper tape can also be recycled along with cartons; unlike plastic tape, it doesn’t need to be separated before the pulping process.
While paper and gummed paper tapes may lack the strength of some plastic tapes, glass fibre reinforcement greatly increases their strength. When its adhesive has dried, gummed paper tape also offers greater dimensional stability that will maintain the integrity of the carton.