📦 Learn all about the fundamentals of Kraft paper

With a rise in demand for a more sustainable approach to packaging, kraft paper has made an impactful contribution to meeting these demands. 

There is no doubt that kraft paper packaging solutions have gained popularity in the packaging industry, and the capabilities of this material continues to grow. 

But why? 

Let’s jump right into what kraft paper is and why it has gained so much popularity! 

What is Kraft Paper? 

Kraft comes from the german word “strong”, and kraft paper is just that! 

Raw kraft is durable, tear resistant and brown in color thanks to the kraft pulping process. 

Ideal for creating durable wrapping paper and sturdy carton and rigid boxes, kraft paper board is actually also available in a range of colors and shades making it extremely versatile for branded packaging solutions. 

example of branded kraft paper
Source: PakFactory

The surface of raw kraft paper is textured and porous allowing for high quality printing and finishing for a premium rustic look. 

The History of Kraft Paper

Kraft paper is a packaging material that gets its name from the Kraft pulping process, pioneered by Carl F. Dahl of Germany in the 1880s.

Normally, in the manufacturing of paper, wood is ‘pulped’ (ground to a pulp) first, but Dahl found that treating the cellulose pulp with certain chemicals (sulfates) increased the strength of the paper. 

Initially used as wrapping material, the durable and sturdy nature of kraft paper made it popular for producing packaging solutions like the classic brown cardboard box we all recognize today. 

Kraft vs Regular Paper

Some people may say, “it’s just paper, what makes it so special? 

Well, to put it simply, kraft paper is stronger. 

Thanks to the kraft process mentioned previously, more lignin is stripped from kraft wood pulp leaving more cellulose which gives paper its tear resistant and durable characteristics. 

Raw kraft paper tends to be more porous than regular paper too, making it a little less effective for printing but extremely susceptible to special finishing processes such as:

  • Embossing/debossing
  • Foil stamping

How is Kraft Paper Used in Packaging?

Today, kraft paper is primarily used for corrugated boxes and recently have become very popular for carton boxes too!

Thanks to kraft paper’s durable nature the e-commerce industry benefits from corrugated boxes to protect products and ensure they withstand harsh shipping conditions. 

Example of corrugated box
Source: PakFactory

Kraft paper carton boxes are also commonly used by businesses to achieve sustainability goals and clearly portray eco-friendly initiatives through the rustic and raw look of brown kraft paper. 

Kraft paper is very versatile and allows for a wide range of innovative packaging options in today’s packaging industry. 

Types of Kraft Paper

Coated Unbleached Kraft (CUK)

This material is considered to be the most basic version. 

There is no ‘bleaching’ or further addition of chemicals other than those patented by the kraft process. 

For this reason, it is also called Solid Unbleached Sulfate or SUS, and consists of 80% virgin fiber wood/cellulose pulp.

This has great tear-resistance and a high degree of stiffness, all without being too thick. 

In fact, it is the thinnest of all kraft-paper based packaging substrates. 

It has a naturally occurring kaolin clay-titanium dioxide coating on its surfaces to improve smoothness and make printing easier.

Coated Recycled Board (CRB)

CRB is 100% recycled kraft paper. 

Because it is not made from virgin fiber, its specifications/tolerances are less than that of SBS. 

However, this also makes it a low-cost packaging substrate that is ideal for instances where high tear-resistance/strength is not necessary, such as in the case of cereal boxes. 

Example of coated CRB paper
Source: PakFactory

This also makes it easy for product manufacturers to pass on the cost savings to their consumers and gain a competitive advantage in the market.

The materials mentioned above refer to what we commonly see as folding carton

For corrugated boxes, more strength is derived by adding layers of kraft paper.

This is called ‘fluting’.

Read more about corrugated packaging 

The Benefits of Kraft Paper

Apart from its superior strength and protection, it is 100% eco-friendly

It degrades naturally within a few weeks, decomposing just like leaves that fall off a tree. 

It leaves no impact on the environment, but no one needs to wait that long. 

In fact, kraft paper can be recycled for use in new packaging.

Being eco-friendly and having the FSC certified recycled packaging can help increase sales of your product as the world is now realizing the importance of the environment and why it must be protected.

Looking for more sustainable packaging solutions?

  1. Thanks for affirming that using Kraft paper is eco-friendly and it biodegrades in such a short time that it has a lesser impact on the environment. If I were a business owner who sells products using Kraft tubes, I would really feel at ease as I am being a responsible merchant. I think most if not all business owners should choose packaging alternatives that would benefit the environment in the long run.

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