Paper-based packaging is a versatile and cost-efficient method to transport, protect, and preserve a wide array of items. It is engineered to be sturdy, yet lightweight, and is customizable to meet product- or customer-specific needs. Corrugated containerboard is used to ship and transport everything from electronics to fragile glassware to perishable goods for industrial and residential use; paperboard packages food, medicine, and toiletries for handy storage and display; paper bags give customers a sustainable option to carry their purchases home; and paper shipping sacks are often used to package and ship bulk materials like cement, animal feed or flour.

TYPES OF PACKAGING

CONTAINERBOARD

Containerboard has many names: cardboard by the everyday user, as well as containerboard, corrugated containerboard and corrugated fiberboard within the industry. The board used to make the cardboard box that arrives on your doorstep actually has layers in it. Linerboard on the outside and inside layers and a fluted, or wavy, corrugating medium in the middle. Learn more about containerboard, how it is used, and how it is made.

PAPER BOARD

Paperboard (also known as boxboard) is a thick, paper-based material that is generally thicker than regular paper. Paperboard comes in several different grades that possess unique characteristics making each grade suitable for different requirements and needs such as cereal, medicinal and cosmetic boxes. Learn more about paperboard, how it is used and how it is made.

PAPER BAGS

Paper bags are typically made of Kraft paper and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Many paper bags, including lunch, shopping and grocery bags, are made from a single layer of paper. Other types of paper bags are made from multiple layers. Learn more about paper bags, how they’re used and how they’re made.
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CONTAINERBOARD

Containerboard is the material used to make corrugated boxes – commonly known as cardboard. It is the most frequently used packaging material because it is versatile, lightweight, strong and made from a renewable resource. It is also the single most-recycled packaging material: in 2017, 88.8 percent of corrugated containers were recovered for recycling. More than half of recovered fiber used in manufacturing paper and paperboard in the U.S. goes into making containerboard.1

What is Containerboard?

Walls of corrugated boxes made with containerboard consist of two main parts: linerboard (or facing) and corrugated medium (fluted paper). The flutes in the corrugated medium form a series of connecting arches. An arch with a certain curve can support many times its own weight, especially when the ends of the arch are anchored. In corrugated containers, they are anchored to a facing. A vertical sheet of linerboard, used as the skin or facing, can support a weight greater than itself if it is held in place. Most linerboard is produced using softwoods, which have the longest fibers, and produce the strongest paperboard. The fluted corrugating material helps it stay in place, while the facing, in turn, protects the flutes from damage.

What Kinds of Products Are Made from Containerboard?

Containerboard is primarily used to make packaging. Boxes made from containerboard range in strength based on the combination of linerboard and medium. For example:
• Single wall: two sheets of linerboard with corrugated medium in the middle
• Double wall: three sheets of linerboard with two corrugated mediums in between them
• Triple wall: four sheets of linerboard with three corrugated mediums in between them
Boxes are used to protect, store and transport a variety of goods – from the items you buy online that arrive on your doorstep to bulk produce delivered to your local grocery to large and fragile items such as televisions and appliances.
The first use of corrugated paper for packaging came in 1871, when an American, Albert Jones, introduced an idea of wrapping bottles and glass chimneys in it. It was the addition of a liner to one and then to the other side of corrugated paper that signaled the birth of corrugated boxes.

Why Use Containerboard?

Containerboard is Strong

Corrugated is designed to be stacked, to withstand top and side pressure, and is crush resistant. It impacts -, drop- and vibration damage-resistant and can be customized for added protection. It is lightweight while having a high strength-to-weight ratio. Packaging can be designed to move bulk products, ship individually packaged liquids, or even transport hazardous materials.

Containerboard is Convenient

Corrugated containers are relatively lightweight and they can be broken down for easy transport. Moreover, containerboard can be cut and folded into an infinite variety of shapes to ensure a product is uniquely presented but also protected. Branding can be directly applied to the surface of the containerboard. It is also cost-effective as the overall cost of using corrugated for shipping is a small portion of the value of the goods being shipped.

Containerboard is Sustainable

Corrugated containers are made from a renewable resource – recovered paper and trees that are replanted to ensure a sustainable supply. The U.S. grows more wood than it harvests. There are 20 percent more trees in the U.S. now than there were in 1970. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), paper and paperboard packaging, which includes containerboard, accounts for nearly three-quarters of packaging materials recovered for recycling in the U.S. That is more than any other packaging material.

How is Containerboard Made?

The first step in the process is to make pulp. The pulp can be made from either virgin fiber, which are wood chips, or from recycled paper products.
Wood chips (virgin fiber) are cooked using a chemical process in essentially a pressure cooker known as a digester. The wood fiber is separated into cellulose fibers, lignin (the wood glue that holds the tree together), and other substances such as sugars. Cellulose is an essential building block in the cell walls of trees and plants, helping to make them strong. The pulp is then washed to clean it and separate it further from the other tree components. After the pulp is washed, it is screened for further cleaning.
For mills using recycled materials, pulp is made by mixing the recovered fiber with water in what resembles a large blender called a repulper. In the repulper, the pulp is separated to create individual fibers in a slurry. From there, the pulp is washed and screened to further separate the fiber from other debris like dirt.
The pulp, which maintains its natural brown color, then needs to be formed into a sheet by the paper machine. At the wet end of the paper machine, the pulp flows onto a moving endless belt with a screen to filter out water and form a web. Further down the line, in the press section, the pulp, which looks like a brown sheet, goes through several presses to further remove excess water. At this point the web of material still must shed water, so it passes into a dryer. The dryer is a large cylinder and uses steam to dry the pulp. The wet web of pulp is pressed against the cylinder tightly to dry it through evaporation, providing a consistent thickness prior to the paper being processed into a giant roll. Paper formed in this process can now be used as the inner and outer liners on a corrugated box.
Next, the rolls of paperboard are shipped to a converting facility, so they can be made into boxes. The flutes are manufactured in a corrugator machine and glues the tips of the flutes to the linerboard. Corrugated medium is fed into the corrugator and the rollers heat the paper to a specific temperature. Then the medium is fed into the single facer, which creates the arches of the flute and adds a starch-based glue on one side of the tips of the flute. The flute is glued onto the inner liner. Next, the outer liner is glued, and the paper is heated so the glue bonds securely. This process is altered based on the wall size of the corrugated container, meaning if it is single, double or triple walled in addition to the size of the flute. After the inner and outer liners are glued to the flute, the product is cut to specification based on the order.

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PAPER BOARD

Paperboard is a thick, paper-based material used for packaging. In the mid-1800s, with the introduction of the Fourdrinier Machine, mass production of paper and certain forms of paperboard was introduced. Soon after, an inexpensive method for mass-producing paperboard folding cartons was developed.
Today, there are several different kinds of paperboard that possess unique characteristics, making each type suitable for different requirements and needs. Paperboard used for folding cartons for delicate items like cereal or cosmetics is crucial for protecting the product. Whereas paperboard used for display, such as on your package of razors, is crucial for its strength.

What is Paperboard?

Paperboard is the broad name that refers to different qualities, or grades, of paper-based packaging material. It is generally thicker than writing paper. Grades differ from one another based on what percentage is produced from recycled content, what surface coatings it has and what color it is. Below are four main grades.

Solid Bleached Sulfate (SBS)

Bleached paperboard or solid bleached sulfate (SBS) is a premium paperboard grade that is white in color. In order to be considered SBS, the finished product contains no more than 20 percent recycled materials. The remaining 80 percent must be composed of freshly-harvested woodchips that are chemically processed and bleached. The bleaching process gives SBS its signature white color, both inside and out.

SBS is used to package everyday products, including food and beverages, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. In order to print marketing and product information on the paperboard packaging’s surface, most SBS is coated with a naturally-occurring mineral called kaolin clay to improve its printing surface. If the packaging is intended for frozen foods or liquids, it may also be coated with a very thin plastic lining for wet strength protection.

Coated Unbleached Kraft Paperboard (CUK)

Similar to SBS, clay natural Kraft (CNK®) or solid unbleached sulfate (SUS®) paperboard (two variations of CUK) contains no more than 20 percent recycled material. However, when the 80 percent freshly-harvested woodchips are processed, they are not bleached and the paperboard’s bottom and inside layers remain the natural brown color.

Although the inner layers are brown in color, the unbleached paperboard’s surface is still treated the same as bleached paperboard in order to create a printable and wet-resistant surface.

Uncoated Recycled Paperboard (URB)

Uncoated recycled paperboard, a multiply material, is produced from recovered paper-collected from paper manufacturing and converting plants and post-industrial sources. During production, the surface is not coated for printing purposes. However, depending on the packaging’s end purpose, a top layer of white recovered fiber can be added or the material can be mass dyed to the desired colors.

Coated Recycled Paperboard (CRB)

Coated Recycled paperboard is produced from 100 percent recovered paper just as uncoated paperboard is. However, to improve the printing surface, it is typically coated with a thin layer of kaolin clay (the same mineral used with SBS and SUS paperboard grades) in addition to a layer of white recovered fiber. Manufacturers choose coated recycled paperboard over uncoated when the packaging will be used for products that have marketing and writing on the outside.

What Kinds of Products are Made from Paperboard?

Paperboard is used to package various products. The grade of paperboard used depends on the products’ needs and requirements.

Major market segments that use solid bleached sulfate:
• Medical packaging
• Hot and cold paper cups
• Milk and juice gable top cartons
• Aseptic drink boxes
• Cosmetic and perfume packaging
• Frozen food packaging
• Candy boxes
• Stand up displays
Major market segments that use coated unbleached Kraft paperboard:
• Frozen food packaging
• Pharmaceutical packaging
• Beverage carrying containers
Major market segments that use uncoated recycled paperboard:
• Shoeboxes
• Composite cans and fiber drums
• Coated Paperboard
Major market segments that use coated recycled paperboard:
• Soap and laundry detergent packaging
• Cookie and cracker packaging
• Paper goods packaging (facial tissue and napkins)
• Cake mix packaging
• Cereal boxes
• Another dry food packaging

Why Use Paperboard?

Performance and Flexibility
Paperboard offers strength and durability to house products of all shapes and sizes, while also offering flexibility. Easy to cut and form, it is both lightweight and strong, which makes it ideal for packaging.

Consumer Appeal
Paperboard packaging is appealing to consumers. Due to processes that make the surface printer-friendly and the ability to either bleach it white or dye the board to desired colors, companies can market their products with bright, fresh writing and images. This is key, as packaging catches consumer’s eyes on store shelves and Internet ads.

Sustainability
Paperboard packaging is made from a renewable resource, trees, that are replanted to ensure a sustainable supply and recovered paper. The U.S. grows more wood than it harvests. There are 20 percent more tress in the U.S. now than there were in 1970. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), paper and paperboard packaging, accounts for nearly three-quarters of packaging materials recovered for recycling in the U.S. That is more than any other packaging material.

How is Paperboard Made?
The first step in the process is to make pulp. Pulp can be made from either virgin fiber, which are wood chips, or from recycled paper products.
Wood chips (virgin fiber) are cooked using a chemical process in essentially a pressure cooker known as a digester. The wood fiber is separated into cellulose fibers, lignin (the wood glue that holds the tree together) and other substances such as sugars. Cellulose is an essential building block in the cell walls of trees and plants, helping to make them strong. The pulp is then washed to clean it and separate it further from the other tree components. After the pulp is washed, it is screened for further cleaning.

For mills using recycled materials, pulp is made by mixing the recovered fiber with water in what resembles a large blender called a repulper. In the repulper, the pulp is separated to create individual fibers in a slurry. From there, the pulp is washed and screened to further separate the fiber from other debris like dirt.

The pulp then needs to be formed into a sheet on the paper machine. At the wet end of the paper machine, the pulp flows onto a moving endless belt with a screen to filter out water and form a web. Further down the line, in the press section, the pulp, which looks like a sheet, goes through several presses to further remove excess water. At this point the web of material still must shed water, so it passes into a dryer. The dryer is a large cylinder and uses steam to dry the pulp. The wet web of pulp is pressed against the cylinder tightly to dry it through evaporation.

Next, it must be calendered, which means the sheet passed between steel rollers to improve its smoothness and adjust its thickness. Finally, in some instances, coatings are applied to the print side of the paperboard. Then the paperboard is reeled so it can be shipped or cut to customer specifications.
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PAPER BAGS

Paper bags and shipping sacks come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Many paper bags, including lunch, shopping, and grocery bags, are often made from a single layer of paper while other types are made from multiple layers.
Commercial paper bags were first manufactured in England in 1844. In 1852, Francis Wolle invented a bag making the machine in the United States, then further advancements were made to include glued sacks and the gusset design. The sturdier, multiwalled sack replaced cloth sacks in the 1920s and was then used to hold cement.

What Are Paper Bags?

A paper bag is a pre-formed container made from paper. Typically, they are produced from Kraft paper due to its elasticity and tear-resistance properties. Paper bags usually have an opening on one side for easy packaging.
Depending on their intended use, paper bags vary in size, strength, and characteristics. They come in sizes as small as traditional brown lunch bags and as large as residential yard and food waste bags. If the bag’s intended contents are generally lighter, paper bags are typically made from a single layer – called a ply - of paper. However, if the intended contents are generally heavier, they are made from multiple layers of paper and can include other flexible materials to increase strength. Finally, paper bags exist with or without handles for carrying and with or without printing and/or brand logos on the exterior.

What Kinds of Products Are Made From Paper Bags?

Paper bags are used for:
Shopping bags
• Grocery bags
• Food Carry/Snacks bags
• Paper bread bags
Paper bags are also an ideal container to hold compostable waste as unlined, Kraft paper bags are compostable themselves.

Why Use Paper Bags?

Paper bags and shipping sacks have numerous advantages, including:

Cost-Efficiency

Paper bags are a cost-efficient option for shippers that offer an advanced degree of customization. Because of their flexibility, they can be custom-designed to meet exact requirements and provide the highest degree of product quality protection at the lowest cost that meets normal handling, shipping, and service requirements. Due to the paper bag's ability to be folded and flattened during transport, they can be shipped in small, tight spaces.

Flexibility

Paper bags are sturdy, easy to carry and hold a lot of items without breaking.

Sustainability

Paper bags are made from a renewable resource, trees that are replanted to ensure a sustainable supply. Paper bags and shipping sacks are recyclable, reusable, and compostable. Paper bags especially are highly recycled and are a fixture in community recycling programs throughout the country.
Due to their ability to conform so closely to the volume of material being packaged, no overpackaging is needed.

How Are Paper Bags Made?

The first step in the process is to make pulp. The pulp can be made from either virgin fiber, which is wood chips, or from recycled paper products.
Wood chips (virgin fiber) are cooked using a chemical process in essentially a pressure cooker known as a digester. The wood fiber is separated into cellulose fibers, lignin (the wood glue that holds the tree together), and other substances such as sugars. Cellulose is an essential building block in the cell walls of trees and plants, helping to make them strong. The pulp is then washed to clean it and separate it further from the other tree components. After the pulp is washed, it is screened for further cleaning.
For mills using recycled materials, the pulp is made by mixing the recovered fiber with water in what resembles a large blender called a repulper. In the repulper, the pulp is separated to create individual fibers in a slurry. From there, the pulp is washed and screened to further separate the fiber from other debris like dirt.
The pulp, which maintains its natural brown color, then needs to be formed into a sheet on the paper machine. At the wet end of the paper machine, the pulp flows onto a moving endless belt with a screen to filter out water and form a web. Further down the line, in the press section, the pulp, which looks like a brown sheet, goes through several presses to further remove excess water. At this point, the web of material still must shed water, so it passes into a dryer. Unlike making other paper products, when making bag stock, to reduce the sheet’s shrinkage, creating a stronger and more durable paper that can withstand stretch, it’s air-dried using a FLAKT dryer instead of a cylinder dryer. After drying, the bag paper goes through rollers and is reeled.

Depending on what kind of container is being produced, different processes take place to produce the final products. For example, to make standard paper grocery bags, the sheets of paper are folded and glued together by machines and separated into batches.

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