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Sustainable STEM: Taotenish Kraft Tape

Updated: Aug 18, 2022


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Welcome to another Ben + STEM’s review of eco-friendly materials and supplies for your STEM or STEAM class. This review is on Taeotenish Kraft Tape, but you can check out some of our other reviews like corn-based flatware, bamboo straws, and rice straws. Interested in trying these eco-friendly products out? Check out a Ben + STEM Sustainable STEM Sample box.


There are a lot of great eco-friendly materials that we are investigating at Ben + STEM, and one item that I have been very excited to review is adhesive tape. As a STEM educator, I go through so much tape! Duct tape, masking tape, 3M Scotch tape, painter’s tape, packing tape …the list goes on. Admittedly after the projects were done, all of that tape went right into the waste bin.


Tape is such a staple in our classrooms, but like other consumable items, it has quite a carbon footprint. Many of the types of tape listed above are made from polypropylene film or other petroleum-based products. According to over 10 billion in annual sales of adhesive tape sold worldwide each year, we need to think about how we can lessen our contributions towards the purchase, use, and disposal of plastic-based tapes.


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Companies that make adhesive tapes are making progress in moving the industry into more environmentally friendly spaces, and Kraft tape is one possible solution to this issue.


Kraft tape is made out of paper/cardboard with a natural sticky backing like cellulose, natural rubber, or starch-based adhesives. Water-activated tapes are identified as more eco-friendly than other types of Kraft tape, but do require special dispensers or a water sponges on-hand. I hope to do a review of water-activated tape in the near future.


Company Description:

Today we are exploring a Kraft tape sold by Taotenish. The company is listed as the manufacturer, but I could only locate company details on their Amazon listing. The Kraft tape is made of a cardboard material and listed as “biodegradable, repulpable, non toxic, environmental tasteless, acid-free, [with] non corrosive contact adhesive.” I am excited about many of those descriptors, but I do have some questions about what makes a tape environmentally tasteless.




Decomposition Timeline and Process:

The manufacturer does not share this information. This could be an issue since I do not have a lot of details on the tape’s manufacturing process and I am unsure of what makes the tape self-adhesive (more on that below). From my research, cellulose-backed tapes should take approximately 2-6 weeks to biodegrade.


Physical Characteristics:

This particular roll of tape is 50 yards long and is quite wide at 2 ¼ inches in. Those dimensions are slightly off of what they are advertising on their Amazon listing and the interior labeling is different as well. Since, I feel fairly confident that this is still Kraft tape, so we are going to go ahead and review. The non-adhesive surface is waxy in feel and appearance. The adhesive side is very sticky, like duct tape. It doesn't hurt to pull of my hands when my fingers stick, but I would not want this anywhere else on my skin because it could be painful to pull off.

Adhesive side

Tensile Strength:

I was able to easily rip a piece of tape off of the roll, so a lot of students would likely be able to rip tape themselves without assistance or a pair of scissors. The strength of this tape is remarkably strong. I pulled on both ends of a segment of tape and was unable to snap it in half. Once I placed the adhesion side on a solid surface, it was definitely not coming off without a fight.


Longevity in Liquid:

I soaked the tape in different temperatures of water to see how it did. From this test, I do not believe this particular brand would do well for activities that involve being submerged in water.

Cold Water (67F): Maintained adhesion for a few hours, then split into two layers

Hot Water (183F): Lost adhesion immediately and lost tensile strength


I made a raft in another blog post with bamboo straws and had the raft submerged for several hours. The layers of tape separated, but that first layer attached to the bamboo straws was still sticky and kept the raft together.

Conclusion:

As I share in previous blog posts, avoiding single-use items and sticking to more permanent solutions is ideal in a STEM classroom. Simply using less tape can make a difference!


Ben says, "I refuse to get caught on tape!"


In my research on why Kraft tape is so eco-friendly, many of the sources I read discussed the water-activated adhesion types are the "best way to go". This means the tape must be wet on one side in order to activate the adhesion molecules. With the tape I reviewed by Taotenis, I did not need to add any water as one side was very sticky as soon as I pulled the tape off of the roll.


I think this is a great example for the need for guidelines for green marketing. The tape reviewed today, with its self-adhesion properties and alternative look from Amazon's listing, does not inspire a lot of confidence that this is truly eco-friendly. I would prefer more evidence that this particular brand of tape is eco-friendly or is certified by a credible third party (e.g., ASTM D6400 in the US, EN 13432 in Europe, AS4736 in Australia).


Undeterred, I am eager to review more eco-friendly tape options for fun STEM activities with a green footprint!


Moving forward if you choose to try out Kraft Paper Tape:

  • Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions to dispose of the materials

  • Avoid tape that uses plastic to package

  • Select a tape that uses a 100% recyclable paper core instead of a plastic core

  • Select a tape that uses a paper core is not printed with ink




Keep an eye out for more at Ben + STEM as we continue to explore eco-friendly materials and supplies for your STEM or STEAM classroom! Interested in trying these eco-friendly products out? Check out a Ben + STEM Sustainable STEM Sample box.


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