How gummed paper tape can increase parcel security

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The rise in internet retail has driven a significant increase in UK parcel shipments, the Pitney Bowes parcel index estimates that 5.1bn parcels were shipped in 2022 alone! Royal Mail were planning their shipment capacity to manage an extra 850,000 parcels per day across the 2023 festive season.  

Businesses will have thousands of pounds worth of stock in transit at any given time, and parcel security can be critical in ensuring that their products arrive to their destination intact.

One effective way to improve parcel security is by using gummed paper tape. Also known as water activated tape, this eco-friendly and tamper-evident packaging solution can enhance the security of parcels during their journey.

In this blog we’ll look at:

gummed paper tape

What are the tamper evident properties of gummed paper tape

Gummed paper tape, also known as water activated tape, is designed to provide clear evidence of tampering whilst goods are in transit.

Typically made from Kraft paper, which is known for its high tear strength, the application of gummed paper tape forms a permanent adhesion to packs.  This means that it is highly noticeable if someone tries to peel it from the pack.

The addition of fibreglass threads to reinforced gummed paper tape further enhances the material strength, making it impossible to break the tape where the flaps of a carton meet.

This means that parcels can only be opened using a box opener or blade, making it obvious that your parcel has been interfered with.

Why does gummed paper tape form such a strong seal with cartons

Unlike traditional plastic tape, gummed paper tape adheres tightly to a variety of surfaces, including cardboard boxes and envelopes.

As the tape is moistened, the fibres of the tape and corrugate combine, forming a secure seal and making it difficult to tear away without leaving tape residue or, removing the top layer of corrugate.

It is impossible to reseal the tape to the pack to disguise these tell-tale signs of pack interference.

Once the tape has been applied to a pack, it’s resistance to further moisture and temperature changes also help to maintain a strong seal whilst in transit, reducing the risk of the pack opening and damage to the contents occurring.

What impact does gummed paper tape have on theft rates?

The ability to access parcels and remove goods is a significant concern in the shipping and logistics industry. Using gummed paper tape makes it more challenging to access the contents of a package discreetly. Any attempt to tamper with the tape becomes evident, deterring theft and unauthorised access.

Water activated tape can also be customised with your messaging or logo, which makes it more challenging to replicate a replacement tape if would be thieves were to break into parcels whilst in transit.

gummed paper tape

What are the environmental credentials of gummed paper tape?

Water-activated paper tape is eco-friendly and sustainable, as it is made from renewable materials and can be sourced in FSC paper.  

Using environmentally friendly packaging materials not only aligns with corporate responsibility initiatives but can also improve your sustainability, reducing your carbon footprint and meeting the expectations of environmentally conscious consumers. 

As the tape is made from paper, it means that your cardboard pack is 100% recyclable! There is no need to remove the tape before placing into the paper recycling bin.  If you are using a reinforced paper tape, the fibreglass is removed during the recycling process, as it makes up less than 5% of the total material.

If you’re currently using a plastic tape, by replacing with a paper tape you are literally removing miles of plastic from your packing operation too!

A switch to gummed paper tape often means that you can reduce the amount of tape you use too. As the bond of tape is so strong, it removes the need for H taping and allows you to use less material, reducing waste.

gummed paper tape

How is gummed paper tape applied?

Gummed paper tape is applied using a water activated tape dispenser, these clever machines also speed up the application of tape to parcels.

From a BP222, which is a manual system that wets and cuts the tape to length, to a BP555 which can be programmed electronically to dispense a variety of tape lengths, there will be a dispenser to suit your operations.  If you need to apply tape in different sections of the warehouse, the Grip Taper system will allow you to apply water activated tape on the go – take the dispenser to the parcel, rather than bring the parcel to the dispenser!

Use of a tape dispenser drives improves efficiency and helps your operators to apply a consistent amount of tape each time, reducing overpacking and material waste.

gummed paper tape

What are the possibilities of printing on gummed paper tape?

Just like any other format of parcel tape, it is possible to print on gummed paper tape. You can customise it with branding, printed logos, trading addresses, or customer facing messaging.  With four colour print available, and tape available in either brown or white kraft material, the possibilities are endless.

When designing your artwork for printed gummed paper tape, you will need to consider the suitability of colour scheme for the paper you’re printing on – for example, will the colours work on a brown background or do you need a white kraft tape?   

As the tape is printed bespoke to your requirements, you will need to factor in a lead time for artwork approval and printing time.

Water-activated paper tape offers a practical and effective solution for improving parcel security during shipping and delivery. Its tamper-evident properties, secure seal, and eco-friendliness make it a quick win for logistics and packing.

At Macfarlane Packaging we offer a full range of gummed paper tapes, including reinforced formats, along with a variety of tape dispensers to speed up the packing process and use less material.  Contact us today to find the right gummed paper tape solution for your business.