For avid crafters and stationery geeks, having several rolls of washi tape is a must. These little tapes offer countless unique designs and pattern combinations that can elevate your art. However, there may come a point when you need to discard your washi tape, whether because you’re downsizing your collection or simply getting rid of used stuff. There is some debate on the recyclability and compostability of washi tape, so it’s worth knowing if this type of tape is environmentally friendly. This information will guide you in properly disposing of your stationery.
So, washi tape: is it environmentally friendly or not?
What washi tape is made from
To answer our question, it helps to know what washi tape is and what materials it is made from. Understanding the materials used to make a certain thing helps us determine whether it is biodegradable and, ultimately, environmentally friendly.
Washi tape is made of paper from natural fibers from plants such as bamboo, rice, mitsumata plants, and kozo (mulberry). Paper used in making washi tape is produced from new branches, which is good from a sustainability standpoint as trees don’t need to be cut down in the process. The adhesive on the tape is also made using natural materials, specifically Malaysian rubber, that can be sustainably harvested.
Washi tape: Environmentally friendly?
Since washi tape is made from natural materials, it can be broken down by microorganisms once it has been disposed of. Washi tape will likely take a few months to break down, which isn’t bad considering that plastics will take centuries to degrade (if they do at all).
As with all biodegradable items, washi tape needs to be in optimal condition to return to nature. If washi tape ends up in a landfill, decomposing can take much more time. Remember, landfills are not just one big compost heap. They typically have poor airflow and sub-optimal moisture levels, making the breakdown process much slower.
Composting washi tape
Instead, consider composting your washi tape. While not all biodegradable items can be composted, washi tape is a good candidate. However, remember that “biodegradable” and “compostable” are not interchangeable.
There are two main categories that composting materials fall under: green materials and brown materials. Green materials are rich in nitrogen, and some examples would be coffee grounds and recent grass clipping. Brown materials, on the other hand, are high in carbon, so stuff like crab shells and dry leaves. Since it is carbon-rich, washi tape fits into the brown category. When composting, it is recommended to maintain a 1:1 ratio between the two types of compost.
Unfortunately, not all washi tape can be composted. Some washi tapes use materials such as glitter and foil that are not compostable. This means that while the rest of the tape would decompose, it would still leave non-biodegradable materials behind. It is always best to err on the side of caution when composting.
To compost your washi tape, rip it up into small pieces. This allows bacteria to work on a larger surface area, and you can evenly distribute the tape in your compost pile. Doing this will help the decomposing process go more quickly.
The bottom line
In short, washi tape is, indeed, environmentally friendly. You can use it as an alternative to traditional adhesive tapes since it is made from renewable resources and can be recycled and composted. The next time you need tape, consider reaching for the washi instead!
Written by EndlessPens Blogger Ramona Kabigting