paper tape

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

In my country, Scotch® has sadly become a generic name for adhesive tape.
Meaning, when I learned to talk and designate objects with words, the only word I had for adhesive tape was 'scotch': 'I wish to make a gift wrap for this, where is the scotch?'

Also the only kind of 'scotch' that I was ever aware of being used by normal people was either clear, translucent, or brown for heavy-duty, and seemed made of plastic, smelled a particular smell, and you needed a blade to cut it, mostly under the form of a 'scotch holder', itself made of plastic (my parents owned a heavy one - the master scotch holder - which was filled with sand and sounded like the sea when you tilted it. But I digress.)

Then at the ripe old age of twenty-nine I happened to walk into a U-Haul store to get moving boxes.
And discovered paper tape.

It sounds like a small thing. But you wouldn't believe the epiphany that this was.
Paper tape is strong.
Paper tape can be cut with only your fingers.
Paper tape does not make a horrible screech when pulled out of the roll.
Paper tape is friendly to the touch.
Paper tape seems made of simpler, less polluting materials than clear tape

[from what I gather, clear tape can be made of plastic film or cellophane - the latter being 100% biodegradable but involving a polluting production process. I want to read this article about the chemistry of adhesive tape. Not sure how the adhesive itself fares environmentally, need more research]

Also I was angry at having to accept that a company had managed to monopolize the very definition of what an object was/should be - up to its name, and successfully pushed its materiality onto my life without my being aware of it.

How many more ingrained habits do I have, that were created by a company to sell goods?

Oh, and the ever important question: do I even really need to use tape, any kind of tape, in my life, or could I just do away with it?

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