Packaging Tape, From Then Until Now

I’ve talked a lot about how cardboard was made, and therefore we have all sorts of different kinds of cardboard boxes. I’ve talked about how polypropylene was made and therefore we have all sorts of plastic bags. I’ve never really talked about how packaging tape was made. Oh sure, I’ve talked about all the different varieties, and how it’s actually a really interesting subject and you somehow never run out of anything to say about it. But I’ve never actually started at the beginning! What a shame. Well, all that is about to change. Get settled in, we are going to a ride down packaging tape memory lane…

There was once an American, and it’s a great thing that he was. American, that is. I feel that so many of the great inventors were American, at least in the modern day and age. The Wright brothers, with the airplane. Alexander Graham Bell, with the telephone. Thomas Edison, with about a hundred different inventions, but the light bulb most significantly. All Americans. And right up there with them was a guy from Minnesota, who invented tape. He was working for a company that manufactured sandpaper, in the 1920s, and with the mind of a true inventor he got the idea to make tape from an autobody shop where they were testing some of the sandpaper.

He came to be aware that it was incredibly difficult for the mechanics to make straight lines when doing the two-tone paint jobs. Why he was the only one that thought of a solution I cannot comprehend, but I suppose that is the mindset which comes with already having everything invented and at my fingertips in vast quantities and for fairly cheap. Anyway, he began by using a strip of paper with adhesive on the edges, and the idea of masking tape was born. Of course it was perfected over time, and ten years later he added Scotch tape to the mix. This was just in time for the Great Depression, because people began using tape to repair things instead of buying a new replacement.

There is a whole different story when it comes to duct tape, but that one will have to be told at another time. Hopefully you come back to check it out some time. In the meantime, you can fill all your packaging tape needs at

Cardboard Boxes: Good to Have in a Pinch

I had a really interesting day the other week, where everything seemed to somehow center around cardboard boxes and how I needed one and did or didn’t have one on hand. It started with getting my kids on the bus, and how my daughter was trying to preserve her science project without first) her brothers ruining it before she got to school, second) anybody else ruining it from either the bus stop or the bus ride on the way to school, or third) acts of God, which is meant by rain, or a car spraying a giant puddle, or the neighbor’s dog feeling strongly attracted to the moving pieces dangling about.


Lucky for the unassuming seven-year-old, Mom had a plan! I had gotten something in the mail the other day, and I went and retrieved the box from the garage. Normally, whenever we get some sort of box, we throw it in the garage to burn for later. However, I’ve started to realize the merit in breaking down and preserving some of them. This is just a fact of life, or what comes from having a family. We always need cardboard boxes!

No sooner had my kids gotten on the bus than I started making a meal I was supposed to deliver to a friend later that night, who’d had surgery. I had attempted to deliver too many meals, and attempted is the key word here. So many times I have thought that the casserole would be fine on the floor of the passenger side, or in the trunk semi-tucked in. Only to have frozen hashbrowns and parmesan cheese spread and sprayed all over my vehicle, which smells bad enough as it is. Of course, I am not blaming this on anyone but myself, and the naive presupposition that gravity somehow operates on merit, and surely it would favor me if I’m trying to do a good deed.

Well, I have since taken a science class, and also begun to wrap the acrobatic dishes in bath towels, and then rest them in cardboard boxes, which I then anchor between roller blades and the jack. Works like a charm. Unless I don’t have any cardboard boxes. Which, on this particular day, I didn’t. Crap. Isn’t it just the worst when you don’t have any cardboard boxes on hand? Let’s just that I won’t be taken by surprise like that again…

What are Poly Shipping Bags?

Let’s talk a little bit about poly shipping bags. First of all: what are they? So the ‘shipping bags’ part seems pretty self-explanatory. But it’s that ‘poly’ part that starts throwing people off. Don’t feel bad, it threw me off too. I had to learn all about ‘poly’ and so now I will tell you. First of all, ‘poly’ is really just short for ‘polypropylene’ and now you can see why they were trying to keep it simple.

Nobody likes something they can’t pronounce. If it can’t be pronounced than surely it is something dangerous, like some mind-trick of the government or some secret agency that is somehow scamming us into doing their dirty work by not using the full term. Allow me to clear the air. I will spare you the spiel about the chemical and physical properties because it really doesn’t make any sense. Polypropylene on the molecular level doesn’t really matter to us because we are just trying to talk about poly shipping bags. I will tell you that it is a kind of polymer which, in the synthetic world (synthetic is a fancy way of saying ‘fake’), is basically plastic. So that probably doesn’t come as a surprise. Poly shipping bags are plastic. Big whoop. Well did you know that polypropylene is the second most important plastic? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

This type of material is chosen to make things out of because it is durable: its not easily destroyed, and it can withstand freezing and especially heat. On top of that, it is able to be joined by heat fusion which is a huge plus. All of this now ties into poly shipping bags. When you buy them you know you are getting a durable product that won’t be easily ruined, which means that it could probably even be reused, and at least whatever it is holding will be sufficiently protected. As for the heat joining, this is the cool part.

At they sell bag sealers, which does exactly what it says it does: it seals a bag by melting the two ends together, cutting off the excess in the process. The hand sealers come equipped with timers based on the thickness of the plastic, so that you don’t have to worry about doing a poor job. In particular, the rolls of poly tubing seem like the most effective type of poly shipping bags. You can use the heat sealer to just roll off however big you want the bag to be, and then seal it, and the next bag can be even bigger or smaller. When it’s all said and done, polypropylene has done the world of shipping and packaging and storing a huge favor.

Christmas with Bin Liners

I’m pretty sure Santa Claus uses bin liners. I imagine his toy shop is just full of bins, which means he needs the liners. I picture his factory with these gigantic bins of all sizes lining the walls, lined with the liners, and full of all of those pieces and parts that he makes all those toys with. I’m sure, in the past, the bins were full of plaid cloth squares, and fluff, and googly eyes. Nowadays they are probably full of buttons, and batteries, and wheels. Things have really changed. But probably not the bins and bin liners. I bet you that Santa Claus buys them from, too.

09D060_1Even if you don’t believe in Santa Claus, which I wouldn’t you blame for (I mean, really, the whole thing doesn’t make much sense, and I hope you don’t mind me saying it), it’s probably at least easy to believe in bin liners. I’m not suggesting you start trying to convince your kids that bin liners have some sort of magical properties, and it would be hard-pressed to center that around Christmas of all things. BUT, when you think about toy shops, bins and bin liners make a lot of sense. And if you aren’t thinking about toy shops they still make sense for any kind of shop. Even for the supplier of the shop.

When you start breaking it down, I suppose it all starts with the suppliers. The suppliers need to have the bins in the first place and, therefore, they need to have the liners. They then fill said bins with the product, and ship them to the manufacturer, who opens them and has access to the product while they make what they are selling. Sure, Santa could just throw some bins in the back of the sleigh and drive out into his magical wonderland. I’m sure the elves pull cotton stuffing off the trees and stuff those bin liners. I’m sure they look underneath cute little plants and find Hot Wheels parts sprouting up, just waiting to be plucked.

There is probably a magical bird who lays plastic eggs, which are harvested and then melted down and poured into molds of all kinds… I think I’m getting carried away, but you get my point. It’s easy for Santa. Not so much for the laymen. There are many necessary steps that need to be taken in the industrial world this side of the North Pole, and bin liners have their necessary place amongst it all.

Bin Liners for Around the House

I’ve been talking about bin liners a lot, recently. I’m not going to lie, sometimes its hard to come up with something else to say. I mean, you would think that the subject would just wear itself out. Not so, my friends, not so at all. I’ve been mentioning how I recently cleaned out my garage and found an old bag of bin liners and used them to clean up the massive piles of leaves all over my yard.

Bin Liners

Autumn is a really good time of the year to find a roll of bin liners. As I was cleaning and organizing I was filling those babies up with stuff to take to Goodwill. Having kids really means that you begin to accumulate stuff, and then you forget about a lot of the stuff until one day you drive home, look in the garage, and say, “Holy crap!” You go out, find some decrepit dump trucks from last summer, that old t-ball stand your son never used because he was born with a bat in his hand, apparently, and sand toys out the wazz. Somehow they never want to actually use the sand toys, they want to use large sticks and heavy rocks and playing with sand goes from being pretty chill to incredibly dangerous.

I’ve had to ban the activity several times at my house. It’s been sad, but necessary. Anyway… Stuff to donate went into the bin liners. I filled one of them with all the soccer balls, basketballs, tennis balls (anything that rolls) and threw it on the top shelf until the weather becomes nice again. I’m tired of having to throw a ball every time I’m trying to get to something else. I put the inflatable pool in one of them, because those things aren’t cheap and you can bet your bottom dollar I’m going to get two years out of it.

Just roll that sucker up, stick it into a nice, roomy, gusseted bin liner, and get it out of everybody’s hair until next summer when I unroll it. I shudder to think of the many spiders who will have made it their home, but I’m afraid it’s a necessary evil. I even used the bin liners to do what they are meant to do, which is line a bin. Okay, so the bin is imaginary, per se, but if you hang up a bin liner on a nail by the back door you can put any and all cardboard in there which makes it way easier to tote back to the firepit. And then you can reuse it! Buy some bin liners. Seriously, even if you are just cleaning out your garage and your yard.