Have you guys seen this commercial for Scotch Pop Up Tape? It's basically a tape dispenser that gives you pre-measured pieces of tape, rather than a roll where you tear off pieces as you go:
There's a 30 second version that goes into more detail about how inconvenient it is to use compared to regular tape. Why spend that extra 3 seconds tearing off some pieces of tape in the size you need when you can pull them right from a brightly-colored, plastic dispenser?
I was preparing to slam Scotch for coming up with yet another way to waste plastic, when my husband pointed out that it might not be any more wasteful than regular plastic tape. Scotch Pop Up Tape offers refills just like regular tape does, so you don't have to keep replacing the plastic dispenser.
Since this sort of tape is really just plastic with adhesive on the back, the greenest option is to use as little as possible, or even better none at all.
One area where the Pop Up Tape fails is that the pre-measured strips stop you from being able to decide how much tape you need. Does it really take a 1" piece of plastic tape to finish off a gift or seal a letter? With a conventional dispenser, you can pull off pieces that are just the right size, which should help reduce waste, if you're trying to conserve materials.
That said, I also wonder how many folks use much more tape than they need. For that set, the Pop Up Tape might actually save materials in the end.
Since I fall into the first category, I'll probably stick to my trusty roll of tape and try to use as little as possible at a time.
I started out feeling pretty negative about this product, but now I'm not sure it's any worse than the tape dispenser we're using now. What do you guys think? And while we're at it, do you have any ideas for alternatives to plastic tape?