Whether you use it to seal envelopes or wrap gifts, switch to plastic-free packing tape. Most packing tapes on the market are made from plastic and cannot be recycled at end of use. They also tend to easily tangle into a sticky mess that you often have to throw in the bin, and due to not being biodegradable, discarded plastic tape is even more a a choking hazard for pets and children. If packing something more substantial, use with biodegradable bubble wrap (below) and biodegradable packing peanuts.
If used, Coccoina Glue Stick is less toxic (still toxic to pets and supervise children). Don’t buy the tin version, as the brush contains pig hair.
Another idea if wrapping gifts is to not use tape at all, and discover the Japanese wrapping art of furoshiki. This is like ‘origami with fabric’, where you use fabric to easily wrap books, bottles and other gifts, and just knot the fabric. The recipient can use the wrap again. Or for families, just stash the wrap in a drawer afterwards, and use for the next gift-giving occasion.
Helen Round’s Bee Kraft Packing Tape is made in the UK and is a self-adhesive tape with a gorgeous honey bee design. Ideal for sealing parcels, crafts and gifts, you can tear by hand or with scissors, and recycle with your paper or cardboard waste.
Plain Kraft Eco Paper Tape is ideal to seal envelopes or wrap gifts. Keep a roll or two of this to hand in your home or office, to be plastic-free, also good for framing pictures. You can write on it, and it tears easily and peels off, leaving no footprints. Water and solvent resistant, and acid-free. This company also sells clear biodegradable tape.
Twin Pines Creative Eco Gift Wrap Tape is sold on a roll, made from Kraft paper. It’s also printed with eco-friendly water-soluble inks.
Tabitha Eve Paper Parcel Tape is sold in a roll, made from Kraft paper and a rubber based adhesive. 50 metre length and 24mm wide.
Packing Tape & Twine
Don’t leave twine (or ribbon, human hair, lint, pet fur) out for birds, as all can harm chicks (choking, strangulation, chemicals). Birds have been making nests for thousands of years, they don’t need our help.
The Danes Eco Conscious Tape & Twine contains a set of brown Kraft paper tape, a roll of biodegradable clear tape, 1 ball of recycled natural cotton twine and 1 ball of natural flax twine. As the name suggests, this company is based in the UK, but run by eco-friendly Danes.
Illustrated Washi Tape
Washi tape (the word means ‘paper’ in Japanese) is simply made from the fibre of bark of trees and other plants. It’s popular with crafters because although not as strong, unlike sticky tape it doesn’t leave yellow marks and is much easier to peel off, if you change your mind or need to remove the tape.
This wildflower garden illustrated washi tape is made from Japanese rice paper. Perfect to use for crafty projects (it does not stick that well for professional use), this is designed in Cornwall and handmade in Britain. Biodegradable after use. Sold in compostable packaging.
You can buy pretty ribbon made from recycled plastic bottles, This is attached to a cardboard reel with paper tape, and finished with a recycled label. Printed with water-based inks. Keep this away from pets and children. It’s not biodegradable, but you can save it and use it the following year.
Never leave any string or ribbon (even if biodegradable) out in the garden for birds’ nests. It can strangle or choke, as can human hair, pet fur (usually too much scent, chemicals, medicines) or lint. Birds have been making nests for thousands of years, without our help.
Cascayde Plastic-Free Packing Tape
Cascayde makes a line of plastic-free packing tape and bubble wrap, ideal for your zero waste office or gift wrapping needs. Made sustainably in the UK with eco-friendly materials, the idea is to cut down on single-use plastic, without compromising on beautiful gift-wrap or office use. Keep all tape away from pets and young children. The range includes:
- Kraft Paper Packaging Tape is made with natural adhesive, and can be cut or torn from the roll, used on almost any warpping material, and is ideal to seal boxes and outer packaging. Compatible with 48mm tape dispensers, it can be recycled, at end of use. Also available in white dot and animal print.
- Paper Bubble Wrap is made with recycled paper, and is the perfect alternative to plastic bubble wrap, for protecting and wrapping items.
Honeycomb Protective Wrap is made from biodegradable paper, and good to pack fragile items like bottles, glass, ceramics and jars. The cells interlock and expand to firmly secure products (the 5m length expands up to 8m, when stretched).
Recycled Paper Bubble Wrap
This recycled paper bubble wrap is an eco alternative to plastic bubble wrap, which never biodegrades. Sold without packaging, it’s made sustainably in the UK with natural ingredients, to protect goods from damage. Sold in a roll that is 3 metres long by 500mm wide.
Use it to wrap goods and office items that you would normally use plastic bubble wrap for. At end of use, you simply recycle it or use it again.
The Honeycomb Protective Wrap is perfect to pack fragile items like bottles, glass, ceramics and jars. The cells interlock and expand, to firmly secure the products. The 5m length expands up to 8m when stretches, and is 380mm wide.