Everything You Need to Know About Water-Activated Tape

water-activated tape

Water-Activated Tape (WAT), commonly called gummed tape or kraft paper tape, has many benefits including branding opportunities, tamper evidence, and application consistency. The secure bond that WAT forms have become a popular choice for all companies in the eCommerce industry.

What is Water-Activated Tape?

WAT is made from paper and a starch-based adhesive that creates a strong bond with boxes and cartons when activated with water. This tape can be reinforced or nonreinforced to provide different strengths and cost options. Reinforced tape is made with reinforcement fibers typically made of fiberglass or polyester to provide a more durable bond for heavy boxes. Non-reinforced tape does not have reinforcement fibers, so this tape is better for lightweight packages that are unitized on pallets.

How does Water-Activated Tape Work?

When water is applied to the side of the tape that is gummed, the adhesive generates a capillary action to adhere to the package, creating a permanent bond.

How is Water-Activated Tape Applied?

The most common way WAT is applied is by using a WAT tape dispenser. These tape dispensers automatically form, wet, and cut the tape to a pre-determined length to be easily applied to boxes and cartons. There are also WAT case sealers available for higher production.

Is Water Activated-Tape Recyclable?

Non-reinforced tape is recyclable, repulpable, and biodegradable, making it one of the most environmentally friendly carton closures. By itself, reinforced tape is not recyclable but when applied to a corrugated box, it meets curbside recyclable standards. This is due to the tape being a small percentage of the overall weight of the box (typically less than 1%).

How does Water-Activated Tape Differ from Pressure Sensitive Tape?

The main difference between these two types of tape is the level of adhesion. It only takes one strip of WAT to secure a box while two or more strips of standard packaging tape may be needed. Using WAT with a dispenser is also up to 21% more productive than using pressure-sensitive tape with tape guns.

If your boxes are opening during shipment, WAT could be the solution. Contact us for more information on the best tape for your application.

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