Though rubber bands are a wonderful way to keep materials together, they are also a wonderful way to ensure a document’s destruction in years to come. While rubber bands may feel soft and stretchy, they eventually dry out or decompose and adhere to the surface on which they lie.
When an archivist, family member or researcher encounters your banded papers in a few years, they may find a gooey or dried out mess (not unlike finding that piece of spaghetti on the side of your stove a few months after that last spaghetti dinner and you know how hard they are to remove). Besides being somewhat gross, this gooey or crispy mess poses a preservation conundrum for the archivist. To remove or not to remove.
In order to remove the rubber band, the archivist (and please family and researchers, do not try this on your own) will need to take a sharp scraping tool and try to pry off the band. In the process, the paper may rip, the words may be pulled off with the band, or the band may be so sealed on the document that it cannot be removed thus obstructing the words. No matter what the scenario may be, you can see that there is no ideal outcome.
So please, for the sake of all the future researchers and fans who hope to use your collection, do not band your papers. Instead of elastic, use plastic (plastic paper clips, that is).