Kraft paper is one of the most popular products we work with, primarily because it’s one of the most versatile.
Kraft paper is available in multiple colors, weights, and sizes, and can be distributed in rolls or sheets as needed. From an industrial site to the classroom, it’s found a home anywhere thin, durable material comes in handy for wrapping, protecting, separating, or writing on.
One consideration when selecting kraft paper that many of our customers are faced with is: should I go with virgin or recycled kraft paper? It’s often a tougher decision than variables like color or weight because the answer typically has more to do with personal preference.
They’re very similar…
There are many similarities between recycled and virgin kraft paper:
In just about every way, both types of kraft paper are essentially identical:
- Both are suitable for most basic kraft paper uses
- Both are unbleached and uncolored, so they have a tan to brown hue
- Both are available in a wide range of weights and sizes for various uses
- Both are priced similarly
… with a few exceptions
- Recycled kraft paper is slightly weaker than virgin kraft due to its recycled fiber content. Under most conditions, this is not a deterrent. But in certain applications where you need the toughest, most tear-resistant option available, virgin natural kraft paper would be the better choice.
- Recycled kraft paper tends to have a softer feel, and is therefore easier on your hands than virgin kraft. So that’s a consideration if you or your employees need to be handling the paper frequently.
That being said, for the majority of the applications our kraft paper is going to be used for, you would be equally successful choosing either virgin kraft or recycled kraft paper:
- Void fill or dunnage for packaging
- Interleaving within shipments
- Wrapping for textiles
- Newspaper bottom wrap
- Floor/wall/countertop protection
- Craft projects
- Gift wrap
- … and much more.
So how do you make your choice?
The decision between these two paper types comes down to personal preference more than anything else.
Many individuals and companies choose recycled kraft paper as part of a larger commitment to environmental goals. While the modern paper industry has solved many of the ecological issues it faced in decades past and all paper production has become far more environmentally friendly, the use of recycled material in the product offers tangible evidence that this choice requires less raw materials taken from the earth.
Beyond that fundamental difference in sourcing, the decision comes down to whether or not you need the end product to be as tough as it can possibly be, or if the strength of each sheet doesn’t matter quite as much.
For instance, if you’re planning to use kraft paper as floor or wall protection on a construction site where it’s going to be walked on all day and be in contact with sharp or heavy objects repeatedly, you’re going to want to go with virgin kraft in a heavy weight to ensure it stays in tact and does its job.
If you need your paper to function as interleaving or protective wrap when shipping, virgin kraft may be best for that too, again because it’s slightly more durable and likely to better handle the stress of shipping.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for dunnage paper, or you’re using it to wrap individual items within a shipment, recycled kraft paper will work just fine. And if you’re using the paper for craft projects and the like, the two are completely interchangeable.
If you’re still up in the air on which type of kraft paper is best for your particular application, that’s what we’re here for. Contact us below and our paper experts will be happy to help you decide.