As the packaging industry continues to look for sustainable options, many emerging materials could change how we see packaging. 

In addition, there is far more awareness of the environmental impact of plastics, and brands are now looking for ways to reduce their environmental footprint. 

Materials like glassine paper might just be the solution many brands have been looking for. 

We’ll take a closer look at glassine paper and help you determine if this packaging solution is right for your business. 

glassine paper

What is Glassine? 

Let’s start with the basic question, What is glassine paper, to begin with? 

Glassine is a pulp-based material with a distinct look and feel. 

Example of glassine paper

Unlike what the name might suggest, there is no connection to glass, but glassine paper and glass do have some similar features.

Because of glassine paper’s unique qualities, it has been confused with wax paper, parchment, plastic, and other types of materials. 

It doesn’t feel quite like regular paper, but as you might guess, it’s an incredibly versatile material.

Glassine paper is most commonly used in the food industry because it is grease-resistant and does an excellent job of elevating the experience of baked goods and other treats. 

How is Glassine Paper made?

Glassine paper is made using hardwood trees like aspen, oak, and birch. 

The timber is cut and transported to paper mills, which are processed for pulping. 

Once the trees are converted into pulp, the fibers are separated from lignin and other substances present in the wood. 

Removing the lignin gives the paper its unique qualities and makes it resistant to the elements.

The paper is then treated with other substances like dyes and pigments to fit grades and colors as needed. 

The pulp is then further treated and dried. 

Finally, using a super calendering process, the paper’s surface is made smooth by pressing it between equipment such as hard-pressure cylinders. 

Super calendering is how glassine paper gets its smoothness, transparency, and glossiness. 

Glassine paper color can be changed using dyes and additives such as:

  • Clay
  • Titanium oxide
  • Calcium carbonate

This makes the appearance more opaque if needed.

The paper’s weight, thickness, brightness, grade, and other qualities can vary depending on the super calendering process.

The Benefits of Glassine

Glassine paper is:

  • Acid-free
  • PH neutral
  • Resistant to moisture, air, and grease

That means it’s protective and can be used for many different applications. 

Although some paper materials may need wax coatings or plastic laminates to be protective, glassine paper does not require that, further adding to its sustainable nature. 

Plus, glassine paper is made from wood pulp, so it is recyclable as well as biodegradable.

So for brands that are seeking sustainable options that still provide protection and quality, glassine paper might just be the right choice for you. 

Glassine paper has high density and thickness, which means it has more tensile strength, folding endurance, and stiffness than other thin paper materials on the market.  

custom glassine paper bag with printing

The Drawbacks of Glassine

While glassine paper has a lot of great qualities, there are some cons to consider. 

The main one is that the glassine paper surface isn’t suitable for printing. 

While it can withstand offset and digital printing, the way glassine paper is processed makes it more difficult to do effectively. 

The paper isn’t as porous, so ink absorption is lower, and drying takes much longer. 

As a result, the risk of ink smearing or the design being damaged is higher, which is where glassine paper may have some limitations. 

Although glassine paper can also be embossed, the paper is too crinkly for it to be as successful as it is on corrugated fiberboard and folding carton paperboard

However, with precise methods and experience, it is possible to create special finishes with glassine, such as printing and embossing. 

Glassine Paper Sheets for Packing

Other options such as vellum, parchment paper, and cellophane are other papers that could be worth exploring alongside glassine paper. 

However, each one has its pros and cons. 

For example, vellum is also translucent but far more delicate than glassine paper and can be torn or damaged easily. 

Parchment paper is non-stick and resistant to elements but is not recyclable. 

Other papers such as wax paper and cellophane are also available but are difficult to print or customize in any way.

Comparatively, the process of creating cellophane is not as eco-friendly and therefore not a sustainable option compared to glassine. 

Glassine paper bags are extremely versatile and can withstand a lot more than your average paper bag.

Thanks to its durable and moisture/grease-resistant qualities, glassine paper bags can be used across a range of industries including;

Get in contact with us today to discuss your sustainable paper bag options and get a quote on your own custom glassine paper solutions!


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