globe guard printed paper box sealing tapes

We have been very successful recently helping customers convert from plastic to paper box sealing tape, especially custom printed paper tape. These conversions are usually quite painless after the customer invests in a good water activated tape dispenser and concludes that 3” wide paper tape is NOT necessarily more expensive because it is wider, than the obviously narrower 2” plastic tape they are accustomed to using.

How to Compare Radically Different Packaging Tapes

The normal tendency when comparing paper to plastic tape cost is to determine a common unit of cost for easy comparison. Since plastic tape is sold in cases of rolls that usually specify yards per roll and paper tape is typically sold in cases of rolls that are measured in feet per roll, a little math is required, but very little. It is relatively easy to arrive at a cost per foot for both tapes but that is only part of the story. The real cost is yet to be determined because the person using the products rarely uses the same amount of both products.

In Tape We Trust?

Not always. In fact a common mistake most buyers make in an effort to reduce plastic tape cost is to buy cheaper tape. That seems like a logical and easy solution except for those “darn people out in the back”, you know; the ones that actually use the stuff.  Packers, the hard working people who use and apply tape to corrugated boxes all day long, cannot be fooled. If a thinner plastic tape is purchased or one with less adhesive, they know it immediately and they compensate for it. They are not eager to have an order they packed, end up the subject of a damage claim or a customer complaint so they apply more tape than they did before. It is very common to see case packers applying two and even three strips of tape to make up for the “great buy” purchasing made and the packers are forced to use.

Focus on Cost per Application

The moral of the story is that you may buy tape by the roll or case but you use it per application so that is truly the only accurate way to compare the cost of one tape to another. It takes a little more time to make a valid comparison this way but it is worth it. The reason paper tape is usually less expensive is that operators simply trust it and use less of it. Less is used because it adheres better to corrugated board and holds longer.

More Good Reasons to Use Paper Tape

  • If properly applied, paper tape actually bonds to the corrugated box so it is much more secure than plastic tape which can easily be tampered with.
  • A corrugated box sealed with paper tape does not require “tape stripping” after it is used so it is far more likely to be recycled.
  • A mechanical or electric paper tape dispenser is more accurate in the tape it delivers compared to a handheld plastic tape dispenser so excessive vertical tape tails are eliminated, further reducing usage.
  • Paper tape is 50% wider so it is easier for a packer to capture both major flaps. A common reason for multiple strips of tape is that the packer “missed center” with the hand held plastic tape applicator. By the way, operators miss because 2” plastic tape is rarely 2” wide. Measure it and you’ll see.
  • Last but not least – paper tape looks more eco-friendly because it is.

Some companies in our business have dropped paper tape from their product lines but we feature it. Why? Simply put – we carry and sell plastic tape because a segment of the market demands it. We promote paper tape because it is the right thing to do, for the benefit of our customers as well as the environment.
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