Properly sealing a shipment is a priority for any business. After all, you can’t have boxes opening on their own—or being tampered with—before arriving at their destination. Tape is the workhorse that gets the job done, but like all things, not all tape is created equal. For extra strength, stability and security (and honestly, extra good looks), water-activated tape is a solid, reliable choice for sealing up corrugated boxes and important shipments. Here’s 4 reasons why your business should think about adding water-activated tape to its packaging efforts.

What is Water-Activated Tape?

WAT is a paper-based tape with a water-based chemical adhesive that’s reactivated by contact with water. When it’s applied to a corrugated box, capillary action bonds it to the carton, creating a strong seal that’s tamper-resistant and tamper-evident. Once dry, it’s not affected by dirt, dust, oil or extreme temperature changes. Standard packing tape and carton sealing tape can be circumvented by using heat guns, while water-activated tape has no such weakness. Reinforced WAT uses a layer of fiberglass that strengthens the tape for heavier, more demanding shipments.

It’s a fun surprise to learn that water-activated tape was invented in 1912 by Thomas Edison. Born out of a need to close corrugated boxes with more than just twine, it was yet another brilliant invention in a long line of them. From there, the water-activated tape dispenser would soon be created—a machine designed to dampen and cut the tape for you, speeding up packing times.

Why use Water-Activated Tape?

It’s extremely strong

The bonding process means the tape becomes part of the carton, adding strength and stability. The addition of fiberglass in reinforced water-activated tape dials that strength and stability up to 11, protecting and supporting shipments that contain heavy or bulky items.

It discourages theft

When the bonding process makes the tape part of the carton, it renders it impossible to remove without visual evidence. WAT acts as a tamper-evident feature on your shipments, making it easy to see if anyone has attempted to compromise its contents.

It’s perfect for printing

Water-activated tape is made from kraft paper, which makes it a candidate for custom branded packaging. Your logo, or a shipping warning, or a promotional message is all you need to make a serious impact on the look of your packaging.

Tip: Think about the colours you’ll use. Full colour is nice but works best on white tape. Black is striking, but white can be contemporary and surprising. Experiment!

It’s recyclable

Just like corrugated boxes, water-activated tape is made from kraft paper. And just like boxes, WAT is recyclable when you’re done with it. It takes work, but the components can be broken down, properly treated, and used again. Even the fiberglass can be reused in other projects. Talk about eco-friendly packaging!

Who uses Water-Activated Tape?

Pretty much any business that ships products can benefit from using water-activated tape. The automotive industry uses WAT for shipping heavy car parts and as security against theft. Jewelry businesses appreciate its tamper-evident features. Furniture stores use it to secure packaging that contains heavy or oddly-shaped pieces of décor. And in today’s biggest growing market, e-commerce businesses use WAT for a strong, tamper-evident seal, and the potential for branding purposes.

Thinking about upgrading to water-activated tape? Looking to take the plunge into custom packaging? Don’t hesitate to reach out and see what your e-commerce partner can do for you.