Is cellulose tape biodegradable?

The article will discuss the biodegradability of cellulose tape while shedding light on topics such as:

  • Can you recycle cellulose tape?
  • Can you compost cellulose tape?
  • What is the best way to dispose of cellulose tape?
  • Can you reuse cellulose tape?
  • Are cellulose tapes eco-friendly?

Is cellulose tape biodegradable?

Cellulose tape made from biodegradable (starch-based or plant-based) adhesives is biodegradable whereas cellulose tapes made from non-natural adhesives can not be given the status of being biodegradable. 

It is not feasible and advisable to recycle cellulose tape and other disposal options must be considered. If the cellulose tape is biodegradable, it can be composted as well. However, otherwise, the best disposal option includes throwing it in regular trash cans. 

What is the best way to dispose of cellulose tape?

One of the best ways to dispose of cellulose 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 cellulose tape waste or throw it in a landfill setting. 

However, if you are certain that your cellulose tape is made from biodegradable adhesives, then perhaps you can consider greener options such as composting (either at home or at composting centres). 

Composting cellulose 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 cellulose 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 cellulose tape which is made from plant-based adhesives can be added to the compost pile whereas; cellulose tape which is made from non-natural and non-biodegradable adhesives can not be added to the compost pile. 

How to?

The next big question is how to compost cellulose 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 

Can you reuse cellulose tape?

Just like recycling and composting, reusing is also getting a lot of environmental hype because when materials are reused, they are not needed to be disposed of or recycled. 

This saves the environment from a lot of damage. However, for a material to be reused properly, it is essential to ensure that its utility is not compromised in any way. 

In the case of cellulose tape, reusing is not an option. The main reason is that the adhesives can lose their quality and may not work properly when cellulose tapes are used again. Hence, it is better to buy a new one and avoid the reuse of cellulose tapes. 

Can you recycle cellulose tape?

Although it is possible to recycle products made from cellulose; the recycling of cellulose tapes is not that advisable and feasible due to the small size of cellulose 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 cellulose can be easily recycled and it is a preferred way too but when it comes to tapes and cellulose tape in this case, the reality changes a bit. 

The main reason is that cellulose 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 cellulose tapes and prefer other disposal options so that the environment may be given due regard. 

What makes cellulose tape biodegradable? (3 examples) 

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 cellulose tape, it can be guessed that these tapes are made from a natural material (cellulose) that is derived from plants. Therefore, if we consider only the case of raw material cellulose tape, we may believe that cellulose tape is biodegradable. 

However, cellulose 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 cellulose tape that makes use of plant-based or starch-based adhesives can be given the status of being biodegradable; whereas, cellulose tapes made from non-natural adhesives can not be given the status of being biodegradable. 

Some examples of biodegradable cellulose tape include:

Are cellulose tapes eco-friendly?

After discussing the main points, let us converge on the main question which is to assess the eco-friendly status of cellulose tapes. The verdict can be given through two frames. 

The comparative frame

One is the comparative frame. When cellulose tape is compared with other tapes such as blue painter’s tape, masking tape or duct tape, it can be said with clarity that cellulose 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. 

The absolute frame

As regards the superlative frame, it can be said that cellulose tape made from biodegradable adhesive is eco-friendly and sustainable but cellulose tape made from non-biodegradable adhesives can not be called eco-friendly because these tapes will not biodegradable nor can they be composted. 

Conclusion

It is concluded that cellulose tape made from biodegradable (starch-based) adhesives is biodegradable whereas cellulose tapes made from non-natural adhesives can not be given the status of being biodegradable. 

It is not feasible and advisable to recycle cellulose tape and other disposal options must be considered. If the cellulose 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 cellulose tapes, from comparative and superlative frames, was also discussed and verdicts were given. 

References

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