Thursday, February 21, 2008


These are the adhesives I use most often - masking tape for temporary labels on anything from jars of preserves and dry goods to trays of seeds I'm sprouting for the garden; clear parcel tape for sealing parcels and laminating pictures; my glue stick and PVA glue for cardmaking and araldite for a myriad household tasks. I could relatively easily substitute flour paste for the masking tape and glue stick or use iceblock sticks to label my seedlings, but I'm a bit stuck for good alternatives to the others.

Without oil, we'd probably be thrown back on half-forgotten crafts - tongue and groove joins where nails were unsuitable or stitching book pages together and to their binding. We might even have to use less plastic (an oil-based product itself anyway) and revert to materials that could be welded, soldered or nailed together. I'd also be stuck when it came to repairing household goods without my trusty tubes of araldite. I have a lovely huge pasta bowl that broke into three enormous pieces nearly three years ago. A smear of araldite over the edges, a bracing with masking tape whilst I waited for the glue to set, and it was as functional (if not as attractive) as new. It would have been such a shame to have to throw it out.

We may find some if we had to, but currently very few non-petroleum adhesives are known - just the traditional starch-pastes (e.g. flour-and-water glue) which are only suitable for light tasks like making paper mache; and glues made from the collagen obtained by boiling animal hoof, horn or hide. Not good!

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