Sustainable and beautiful, kraft paper is making converts out of countless businesses looking for better packaging options. Deciding that kraft paper is the future of your packaging plan is only the first step. There are endless reasons why making the jump to kraft paper can benefit your business that range from cutting costs to linking your brand identity with sustainability. What you’ll soon discover after investigating kraft paper is that you actually have endless options for configuring your new kraft packaging to create a picture-perfect fit for your objectives. In a minute, we’ll take a look at six types of kraft paper for business needs. First, get to know the history behind the paper craze that’s causing businesses to put a more natural spin on packaging to keep up with consumer demand for sustainable, responsible packaging.
How Is Kraft Paper Made?
While there are many types of kraft paper to choose from, they all essentially have the same origins. Kraft paper gets its name from the kraft process. Like most other forms of paper that you can buy, kraft paper is made by converting wood into a wood pulp substance. Next, engineers actually separate components out to make the paper more durable. One of the perks of kraft paper is that any type of wood can be sourced for production. This isn’t the case with traditional paper products. As a result, kraft paper production doesn’t necessarily deplete forests the way that ordinary paper does. There’s also the benefit that the kraft process actually recovers and reuses all chemicals used during production. That means that paper is being produced using a self-sustaining method that doesn’t include any “chemicals dumping.”
Why Brands Need to Take a Second Look at Kraft Paper
If you’re envisioning large, boring rolls of thick brown paper when you think of kraft paper, it might be time to update your perception. Yes, you can still purchase those plain rolls that you might remember from the art classroom in your school days. The thing is that other people also remember those rolls. That’s where the nostalgia angle of kraft paper comes in. This form of packaging is having a very wholesome comeback in light of the fact that more consumers are waking up to the idea that bulky, wasteful and artificial packaging options are harming the planet. They yearn for the simplistic days when things were wrapped “artisan style” in plain paper. In a sea of overproduced, overly processed products, pure kraft paper offers a breath of fresh air by having the following qualities:
- Free of pollution.
- Simplistically elegant.
- Potentially both recycled and recyclable.
In an era of plastic-use reduction, kraft paper is slowly ascending to become the preferred packaging material of both brands and customers. In fact, the drive to reduce plastic use is one of the contributing factors to the rise of kraft paper. Here’s a look at some shocking statistics about plastic use that will encourage any brand that’s currently wrapping products in plastic to get serious about the transition to a sustainable option like kraft paper:
- 91 percent of plastic isn’t recycled.
- Nearly 25 million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean each year.
- According to the EPA, nearly 30 percent of municipal solid waste is packaging and containers.
It’s obvious that brands need to do more to get rid of plastic. That brings us back to kraft paper. Can it really replace plastic in terms of durability and usability? In truth, the answer is mixed. The consumer world isn’t quite ready to get rid of plastic entirely just yet. The truth is that plastic and other footprint-heavy packaging materials do serve specific purposes in terms of health, safety and practicality in shipping. However, even brands that continue to use synthetic forms of packaging materials to some degree can still reduce their environmental impacts by making adjustments wherever possible. In some cases, this may simply mean updating liners and fillers to be made from kraft paper. However, plenty of brands can make a full shift to sustainability mixed with improved cost savings by making a full conversion to kraft paper. Take a look at six kraft paper options that those brands can choose from.
The Best Option for Durability and Versatility: Virgin Natural Kraft Paper
If the goal is to go pure with your future packaging and packing options, virgin natural kraft paper is the clear winner. First, you’re getting the benefits of durable fiber content. However, that durability doesn’t come with the premium price tag one might expect. Virgin kraft paper is actually one of the most affordable options on the market today. It’s simply a great fit if you need packaging or wrapping for very heavy-duty products because of its tear-resistance qualities. A pleasant surprise that goes along with virgin kraft paper is that it is highly “brandable.” This material handles printing very nicely.
The big thing that differentiates natural virgin kraft paper from other kraft paper is that it is not derived from recycled materials. This does make it a slightly less eco-friendly option than recycled kraft paper. However, virgin kraft paper can then go on to become recycled paper that gets used again. Some brands shy away from using packaging that is not recycled even though it is recyclable.
The Best Eco-Friendly Option: Natural Recycled Kraft Paper
With natural recycled kraft paper, brands have to do an analysis of the pros and cons before getting too committed. The obvious benefit here is that natural recycled kraft paper is the environmentally friend option. That’s a big plus if achieving better corporate sustainability is one of your primary goals behind rethinking how you source packaging, packing, promotional or display materials. Adding to the list of “pros” on this option is the fact that you’re getting a very eco-friendly option that retains an extraordinary level of durability. However, it’s not quite as durable as virgin natural kraft paper. With recycled kraft paper, you’re not getting that full tear resistance like you are with the virgin natural option.
The Best Option for Custom Branding: White/Bleached Kraft Paper
Offering a polished upgrade on natural kraft paper, white/bleached kraft paper is commonly used for consumer goods. Its “blank slate” appearance makes white/bleached kraft paper an ideal choice if you need to print product details or batch details for high visibility. White is also simply elegant!
The Best Option for Making a Big Impact Without Printing Costs: Colorful Kraft Paper
There’s actually a bit of a misconception that kraft paper does not come in colors. This is mostly owed to the fact that many people associate kraft paper with natural, unprocessed materials. However, kraft paper comes in virtually every color of the rainbow. Popularly used in product wrapping, colorful kraft paper actually has many different applications. It is popular among crafters looking to create scrapbooks, school bulletin boards and marketing displays. It is also a popular option among people in the niche market of “homespun” greeting cards and party decorations.
The Best Option for Messaging: Printed Kraft Paper
While most forms of kraft paper can be printed on pretty easily, special “printing” kraft paper is designed for brands looking to use kraft paper specifically as a branding point. Printed kraft paper is also commonly used for things like exterior packaging and store displays as an alternative to cardboard. Adding your business name, logo and marketing information to custom printed bags, boxes, tissue paper and other kraft packaging materials can be easily accomplished. The Art Department at Mid-Atlantic Packaging works with businesses of all sizes, from solo entrepreneurs to large corporations to create or revise their packaging materials. If you’d like a quote on new custom printed packaging, our team will recommend the best products, printing options and formats to match your budget, timeframe, and business goals. Kraft products can be customized to successfully brand your business in classic, contemporary and colorful ways.
The Best for Behind-the-Scenes Support: Black Kraft Paper
Black kraft paper is popularly used as a supplemental packing material. In everyday life, you might see it used as liner for delicate products. It is also sometimes added as an accent to natural or white kraft paper. For some brands, black kraft paper is used to build product prestige. It is a good way to balance the elite, understated nature of black packaging with the very low-profile, eco-friendly look of kraft paper. Overall, black kraft paper can be a very inexpensive way to add prestige to product packaging using an option that can be purchased in large rolls very cheaply.
Shifting Your Packaging Philosophy to Kraft Paper: What’s Next?
If your brand has decided that it’s time to shift to kraft paper, the process can vary based on a number of factors. For some brands, the process is truly as simple as using specifications to order bulk quantities of craft paper that will replace plastics, papers or packing peanuts. However, it may be necessary to do some in-depth work with packaging engineers if you’re looking for specific levels of durability to support high-value or fragile products. This is also true if you need food-grade kraft paper that will be used to wrap edible or perishable products directly. Ultimately, brands have everything to gain by making kraft paper part of an effort to package products with the planet in mind!