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Kraft Paper: The Preferred Choice for E-commerce Packaging

No Comments    |    , ,     |    February 14, 2024    |    Reading time 5 minutes
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In the vast and ever-evolving world of e-commerce, packaging plays a critical role in the customer experience. One term that frequently pops up in this context is 'Kraft paper'. This article aims to provide an in-depth understanding of Kraft paper, its uses in e-commerce packaging, and why it's a preferred choice for many businesses.

Kraft paper, a robust and flexible material, has become a staple in the e-commerce industry. Its popularity can be attributed to its eco-friendly nature, durability, and cost-effectiveness. This article will delve into the nitty-gritty of Kraft paper, exploring its production process, types, applications, and more.

Table of Contents

Understanding Kraft Paper

The term 'Kraft' comes from the German word 'kraft', meaning 'strength', which perfectly describes the characteristics of this paper. Kraft paper is a high-quality, durable paper known for its strength and resilience. It is made from wood pulp using the Kraft process, which gives it its distinct brown colour and robustness.

Unlike other types of paper, Kraft paper is less likely to tear or get punctured, making it an ideal choice for packaging. Its high elasticity and tear resistance make it suitable for wrapping heavy items or those with sharp edges. Also, it's highly versatile and can be used in various forms, such as sheets, rolls, bags, and more.

The Kraft Process

The Kraft process, also known as the sulphate process, is the method used to produce Kraft paper. This process involves the conversion of wood into wood pulp, which consists of almost pure cellulose fibres. The wood pulp is then subjected to heat and chemicals, which remove impurities and break down the cellulose structure, resulting in a strong and durable paper.

The Kraft process is more environmentally friendly than other paper-making processes as it recovers and reuses the chemicals used. Also the process results in a paper with fewer lignins (impurities in the wood pulp), which makes the paper stronger and more durable.

Types of Kraft Paper

There are several types of Kraft paper, each with its unique characteristics and uses. The most common types include natural Kraft paper, bleached Kraft paper, black Kraft paper, coloured Kraft paper, and printed Kraft paper.

Natural Kraft paper is the most common type and is known for its brown colour. Bleached Kraft paper, on the other hand, undergoes a bleaching process to make it white, while black and coloured Kraft papers are dyed during the manufacturing process. Printed Kraft paper is customised with logos or designs as per the business's requirements.

Qualities

  • Normal kraft paper is strong and relatively coarse. It has high tensile strength. The grammage is normally 40–135 g/m2.
  • Sack kraft paper, or just sack paper, is a porous kraft paper with high elasticity and high tear resistance, designed for packaging products with high demands for strength and durability.
  • Absorbent kraft paper is made with controlled absorbency (i.e. a high degree of porosity). It is made of clean low kappa hardwood kraft and has to have a good uniformity and formation.
  • Spinning kraft paper is an especially strong type of kraft paper with relatively low grammage (40 g/m2). This paper requires the best possible machine direction strength and cross machine elongation. This is done by high fiber orientation on the paper machine.
  • Hunting cartridge paper is a kraft paper used in shotgun shells. This paper needs a high tensile strength in the machine direction, which is the axial direction of the cartridges. In the cross direction, the cartridge is supported by the gun-pipe, but a sufficient elongation is needed. The body of the cartridge is wound of a kraft paper of 80–120 g/m2, which is further covered by an outer sheet of 60–80 g/m2 with colour and printing.
  • Candy wrapping paper and twisting paper are thin 30–40 g/m2 kraft papers and are mostly flexo or offset printed. These papers require a good strength, with highly oriented fibers. Twisting paper is mostly opaque and often supercalendered.

The Environmental Impact of Kraft Paper

As businesses and consumers become more environmentally conscious, the demand for sustainable packaging solutions is on the rise. Kraft paper, being biodegradable and recyclable, fits perfectly into this trend.

Kraft paper's production process is more environmentally friendly than that of other types of paper. The Kraft process reuses the chemicals used, reducing waste and pollution. Kraft paper is also made from wood, which so long as it's sustainably managed, is a renewable resource - further enhancing its eco-friendly credentials.

Recyclability

One of the significant advantages of Kraft paper is its recyclability. Unlike plastic or other non-biodegradable materials, Kraft paper can be easily recycled, reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.

Recycling Kraft paper requires less energy compared to producing new paper, contributing to lower carbon emissions. This makes Kraft paper a sustainable choice for e-commerce packaging.

Biodegradability

Another eco-friendly aspect of Kraft paper is its biodegradability. Kraft paper, when disposed of, breaks down naturally over time without causing harm to the environment. This is a significant advantage over plastic or other non-biodegradable packaging materials, which can take hundreds of years to decompose.

By choosing Kraft paper for their packaging needs, businesses can significantly reduce their environmental impact and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Kraft paper is a versatile, durable, and eco-friendly packaging material that plays a crucial role in the e-commerce industry. Its strength, flexibility, and sustainability make it a preferred choice for many businesses, enhancing the customer experience while reducing environmental impact.

As the e-commerce industry continues to grow, the importance of sustainable and efficient packaging solutions like Kraft paper cannot be overstated. By understanding and leveraging the benefits of Kraft paper, businesses can not only meet their packaging needs but also contribute to a more sustainable future.

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This article was written by...

Nathan Calvert

Nathan is Head of Digital at The Packaging Club. He has worked in the packaging sector for over 15 years across food, consumer electronics, FMCG ecommerce and more, both directly in-house or as a freelance consultant.

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