Is cellophane tape biodegradable?
The article will discuss the biodegradability of cellophane tape while shedding light on topics such as:
- Can you recycle cellophane tape?
- Can you compost cellophane tape?
- What is the best way to dispose of cellophane tape?
- Can you reuse cellophane tape?
- Are cellophane tapes eco-friendly?
Is cellophane tape biodegradable?
Cellophane tape made from biodegradable (starch-based or plant-based) adhesives is biodegradable whereas cellophane tape made from non-natural adhesives can not be given the status of being biodegradable. Examples include T.R.U cellophane tape or Scapa cellophane tape.
It is not recommended to recycle cellophane tape and other disposal options must be considered. If the cellophane tape is biodegradable, it can be composted as well. However, otherwise, the best disposal option includes throwing it in regular trash cans.
When it comes to cellophane tapes, it depends on the consumers to make the right choices by buying totally biodegradable cellophane tape (made from plant-based adhesives) so that environmental alleviation may be sped up.
What makes cellophane tape biodegradable?
The degradation of any material or product by the action of microbes mainly depends on some main factors. These include how natural and organic that material is and what is the environmental impact of that particular material on the environment and life in general.
If we assess the case of cellophane tape, it can be guessed that these tapes are made from a natural material (cellophane) that is derived from plants. Therefore, if we consider only the case of raw material cellophane tape, we may believe that cellophane tape is biodegradable.
However, cellophane tape or tapes in general are not just about the raw material. Another key and important material that makes up tapes are the adhesives used. When it comes to that, there are two main types of adhesives used.
One is plant-based adhesives or starch-based adhesives. These are extracted and derived from natural materials and will be degraded by the action of microbes. However, the other type is actually derived from non-natural materials such as acrylics and will not be degraded by the action of microbes.
Therefore, to wrap things up, it can be said that cellophane tape that makes use of plant-based or starch-based adhesives can be given the status of being biodegradable; whereas, cellophane tapes made from non-natural adhesives can not be given the status of being biodegradable.
What is the best way to dispose of cellophane tape?
One of the best ways to dispose of cellophane tape, if you are not sure what type of adhesive is used to make the tape, is to simply throw it in your garbage bin or regular trash can.
After that, the waste management authorities will either incinerate the cellophane tape waste or throw it in a landfill setting.
However, if you are certain that your cellophane tape is made from biodegradable adhesives, then perhaps you can consider greener options such as composting (either at home or at composting centres).
Can you compost cellophane tape?
The terms biodegradation and composting usually go hand in hand. If something is biodegradable, chances are it will be compostable as well.
Before we dig into that, let us explore what composting is in the first place. Composting can be explained as a process in which waste is converted to compost which can be used as a natural fertiliser.
There are certain conditions necessary for composting such as the material should be natural and organic and should not emit hazardous by-products or fumes in any way.
This is because the main purpose of composting is to increase the organic content of the soil so that the quality of plants may be improved.
When it comes to the composting of cellophane tapes, there is a lot of ambiguity and biassed opinion as some advocate in the favour of composting while others advocate against it.
However, things should not be kept that complex. A simple answer is that cellophane tape which is made from plant-based adhesives can be added to the compost pile whereas; cellophane tape which is made from non-natural and non-biodegradable adhesives can not be added to the compost pile.
What are the steps? (7 steps)
The next big question is how to compost cellophane tape. The process is rather simple and can be broken down into a few simple steps:
- Selecting a suitable place
- Making compost pile
- Adding brown and green layers in an alternate fashion
- Adding layers of soil after each layer
- Providing necessary conditions and waiting
- Mixing the heap every week
- Letting the compost cook for about 5-8 months before use and utilisation
Is it possible to recycle cellophane tapes?
Although it is possible to recycle products made from cellophane; the recycling of cellophane tapes is not that advisable and feasible due to the small size of cellophane tapes which makes the segregation step nearly unachievable.
When it comes to topics such as degradation, biodegradation, and disposal; people usually inquire about the recycling status as well because recycling is considered to be one of the best ways to dispose of waste.
You may wonder why recycling is so revered in the genre of environmental studies. The simple answer is the benefits that are offered by the recycling process because when products and materials are recycled, they are not needed to be made from scratch. This saves energy and resources while also creating more employment opportunities.
As expressed, normally, products and materials made from cellophane can be easily recycled and it is a preferred way too but when it comes to tapes and cellophane tape in this case, the reality changes a bit.
The main reason is that cellophane tapes are too sticky and too small to be efficiently segregated and individuated for the recycling process. If it is done, there will be a lot of pressure on time, energy, and resources and this will kill the main reason why recycling is done in the first place.
Therefore, it is advised to not go for the recycling of cellophane tapes and prefer other disposal options so that the environment may be given due regard.
Are cellophane tapes eco-friendly?
After discussing the main points, let us converge on the main question which is to assess the eco-friendly status of cellophane tapes. The verdict can be given through two frames.
When compared with other commercially available tapes
One is the comparative frame. When cellophane tape is compared with other tapes such as blue painter’s tape, masking tape or duct tape, it can be said with clarity that cellophane tape is indeed more sustainable as the tape makes use of biodegradable material as a carrier material.
However, in the case of others, this may not be a priority as other tapes may use non-biodegradable material as carrier material other than the adhesives.
When assessed through absolute frames
As regards the superlative frame, it can be said that cellophane tape made from biodegradable adhesive is eco-friendly and sustainable but cellophane tape made from non-biodegradable adhesives can not be called eco-friendly because these tapes will not biodegradable nor can they be composted.
It is concluded that cellophane tape made from biodegradable (starch-based) adhesives is biodegradable whereas cellophane tapes made from non-natural adhesives can not be given the status of being biodegradable.
It is not feasible and advisable to recycle cellophane tape and other disposal options must be considered. If the cellophane tape is biodegradable, it can be composted as well. However, otherwise, the best disposal option includes throwing it in regular trash cans.
The sustainability of cellophane tapes, from comparative and superlative frames, was also discussed and verdicts were given.
- Schildgen, Bob. (October 12, 2017). Is Cellophane Better Than Plastic? Retrieved from: https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/2017-6-november-december/ask-mr-green/cellophane-better-plastic
- LA Times. (February 24, 2011). Can I Recycle? Retrieved from: https://www.latimes.com/archives/blogs/la-at-home/story/2011-02-24/can-i-recycle-post-it-notes
- Holetzky, Sherry. (October 21, 2022). Retrieved from: https://www.homequestionsanswered.com/what-is-cellophane-tape.htm