November’s Dustbin Demon

Filed in Blog by on November 15, 2008 11 Comments
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plastic sellotape inner - non recyclableThe monthly dustbin demon is where I get to have a bit of a rant. Instead of providing solutions I can just have a bit of a yarn about something that is bothering me in my dustbin.

This month, you might recognise our little demon. He showed up during our zero waste week and Mrs A just managed to save us from failure by offering a solution for his disposal.

Yes, I’m talking about the plastic sellotape inner.

This fella sits quietly on your desk, performing a great duty in the name of convenience. Any time you need a piece of sellotape, instead of ending up with it sticking to you, your clothes, the furniture, the cat or in your hair, our friend the plastic sellotape inner, holds our tape in a neat dispenser and is only too eager to please.

But come the end of the reel, you realise, with horror, that our friend is a wolf in sheeps clothing because now you are left with a non-recyclable plastic reel to get rid of. What gets to me even more is that sellotape pride themselves on using the most environmentally friendly processes in the manufacture of their products. In addition, we are told that sellotape is made from cellulose which breaks down naturally in the soil. So why can’t they make the inner reel from cardboard on the small rolls?

Some of our wonderful readers suggested I buy big reels of tape because for some bizarre reason unbeknown to man, these rolls come with a CARDBOARD inner. If anyone knows why, please contact me and let me in on this trade secret.
I admit I threw my toys out of the pram at this suggestion because the big reels don’t fit into my dispenser and I’m not about to go back to scissors and sellotape routine. Oh no! I know all about the ability of sellotape to become static, to mutate into the stickiest thing ever when it’s against the wrong surface and of it’s ability to wrap itself around a pair of scissors so that I can’t cut it.

The Gods did smile down on me, however, because I found a large dispenser for a couple of quid the other week. It was in a cardboard box no less without plastic wrapping.

So then I searched for lovely large rolls of sellotape with a cardboard inner. I found them!

Individually wrapped in non-recyclable plastic…….
<weeps silently onto her keyboard>

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (11)

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  1. Sam says:

    You might be able to find loose rolls of the large sellotape now that it is coming up to Christmas. You could bulk buy for the whole year!

    I’m enjoying reading your blog, and it has inspired me to look at the waste we create. We already recycle as much as we can, and our council takes plastic (at the moment anyway), so that helps, but your blog has made me think about reducing the amount of recycling waste as well.

  2. esther says:

    Hey, great idea, never gave that some thought before, but I’ll go and buy the cartoninnerones now!! (I don’t minde the scissors , hihi)

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever found sticky tape without some sort of wrapper on it.

  4. I’ve managed to get a few rolls without a plastic wrapper, but I can’t remember where I got them from now. Sod’s law eh! It might have been at a post office or a local newsagents.

  5. Mrs Green says:

    Hey Sam, good to see you and thank you for the idea. I certainly will buy in bulk if I find anything! So glad you have been inspired to look further at your waste. Your blog is lovely; I love all your photos. COme back and tell us what you are up to with your recycling 🙂

    Good for you Esther; happy shopping!

    Sarah, weird isn’t it? Today in our local post office of all places they had a big sweet jar full of naked sellotape, BUT it had the plastic inner………..

    OH Mrs A – you’ll have to rack your brain cell for us and let us know. Maybe you could sell them through your site 😀

  6. Sam says:

    I found some rolls of unwrapped, cardboard center sellotape in my local art&craft / stationers shop today. The only extra bit of packaging was the price sticker.
    Might be worth checking out your area.

  7. Mrs Green says:

    Hey Sam, that’s great. We have a good arts and crafts centre nearby which I can checkout – thank you!

  8. Layla says:

    Ooh, I’ve fretted over the sellotape too!! 🙂

    Interesting ideas you have here.. may need to do a bit of research on them.. & see if any such stuff be available here too.. Can you put up a link where it says the sellotape disintegrates? Is it true for all or just a specific type…?

    & for plastic inner – they could just label it with a number for recycling, no?
    You know what else really irks me – little plastic boxes for pencil leads for mechanical pencils?!! there could easily be a take-back programme at the shops, no? & they could be reused.. possibly the sellotape plastics too…(?)

  9. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Layla,
    You would think a little recycling code wouldn’t come a miss on the plastic inner – but better still why not make them from cardboard like the large rolls?
    A lot of stationary comes in plastic I’ve noticed **sigh**
    There is reference to sellotape is on the wikipaedia entry and there is more detail on

  10. Mr. Green says:

    Leyla, very good point on the reuse and marking of plastic items. This is the tip of a very serious problem. We went through our kitchen items recently and found several jar and container tops made of plastic that was not maked at all. It seems like there is no requirement here in the UK for packaging manufacturers to have to mark their products. Some do and many simply don’t. We could not recyle these items, even if we had facilities to do so. I guess the only answer is for some way to recycle all mixed plastics here in the UK without shipping it all off to China. Sellotape used to come on cardboard rolls… ah well.

  11. Mr. Green says:

    Oops mrs. Grren and I are both answering comments at the same time. Sorry to repeat stuff!!! 🙂

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