The debate between using paper versus digital media is often portrayed as a battle between the old and young generation and the way we receive and send information.
Ever since digital started booming, print has been repeatedly knocked down like an old, played-out fighter, gaining a sad reputation against the younger. But there’s a catch, the undeniable connection humans have with paper.
When it comes to processing, internalising and acting on information, paper products still reign supreme over digital media.
The Paper Shift to Packaging
Digitisation has impacted the print industries by a wide margin. Information gained through digital media proves to be responsive and immediate. This certainly affects the usage and manufacturing of paper industries which have prints as a major business.
To keep up with the digital world, paper products are shifting towards alternatives which are directly or indirectly depending upon digitised markets. These products play a mutually beneficial role to maintain the balance between industries.
Paper manufacturers are being smart in order to maintain the needs for digital companies by resourcing products like packaging paper. The packaging industry is still big in the market and is required to carry industries like shipping, logistics, food, and many more.
Packaging Paper in Digital Markets
Since the digital markets now focus on less time consumption and better services, industries like e-commerce require different grades of packaging papers to meet the standards. To meet these requirements, e-commerce gives support to paper manufacturers with a mutual benefit of business growth.
Different products require different grades of packaging papers. Since most online stores are vast with almost all kinds of products being sold and delivered, they require a high quality of packaging to ensure safe delivery.
The preference of paper grade depends on the quality of packaging based on the product being sold. If a luxury item is being packed and delivered, a higher grade of packaging paper is used to meet the standards. For small or non-luxury products, a lower grade will be used.
Paper Products for the Food Industry
Paper and paperboards are commonly used in corrugated boxes, milk cartons, folding cartons, bags and sacks, and wrapping paper. Tissue paper, paper plates, and cups are other examples.
There are different grades of paper used in food packaging industry. When used as primary packaging (that is, in contact with food), paper is treated, coated, laminated, or impregnated with materials such as waxes, resins, or lacquers to improve its functional and protective properties. The many different types of paper used in food packaging are as follows:
- Parchment/Baking Paper – Made from acid-treated pulp, the acid modifies the cellulose to make it smoother and impervious to water and oil, to add some wet strength. It is not a good barrier to air and moisture, is not heat sealable, and is used to pack fats, such as butter and lard.
- Greaseproof Paper – Greaseproof paper is used to wrap snack foods, cookies, candy bars, and other oily foods, a use that is being replaced by plastic films.
- Kraft paper – kraft paper is available in several forms: natural brown, unbleached, heavy duty, and bleached white. Natural kraft is the strongest of all paper and is commonly used for bags and wrapping. It is also used to pack flour, sugar, and dried fruits and vegetables.
- Corrugated board – The corrugated board is made with 2 layers of kraft paper with a central corrugating fluting paper. Fibreboard’s resistance to impact abrasion and crushing damage makes it widely used for shipping bulk food and case packing of retail food products.
Recycling and Disposal of Packaging Paper
- Cardboard – Cardboards are heavier paper boxes with a wavy centre. Packing tape is ok to leave on during recycle. The board should be flattened to fit more in disposal cart or recycling dumpster.
- Cartons – Cartons like juice boxes and milk, soup, broth, and wine cartons are made of mostly high-grade paper. Should be rinsed properly before recycling.
- Boxboard – This board is used to package cereal, cake, gifts, medications, toiletries, shoes, and toothpaste. Any plastic liners should be removed before recycling.
Note – Some non-recyclable paper products like pizza boxes or other boxes contaminated with food, grease or other material are compostable in organics collection programs.