The ultimate guide to paper packaging

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In the UK, we use over 9.9 million tonnes of paper each year, and thankfully, we also recycle around 80% of it too.

Our research found that businesses are just as environmentally minded. 24% of online retailers and third-party logistics companies (3PLs) said improving sustainability and lowering carbon emissions is important to their businesses. So, it makes sense for companies to utilise paper products as they’re an environmentally friendly alternative to other popular packaging solutions.

In this article, we will explore what paper packaging is and show you some popular products. Alongside giving you a simple guide to which paper packaging solution is best for your business!

paper packaging

What is paper packaging?

Paper packaging is a versatile and popular packaging option for many products. It’s made from paper materials, which make it strong and durable enough to protect your product during transit. Additionally, paper packaging can be designed in many ways to make your product stand out on the shelf.

Paper is derived from wood pulp, made from trees, making it a renewable material. It’s also recyclable and can be made from recycled material. Depending on the finish, you can also find compostable paper packaging – making it a great eco-friendly option.

paper packaging

Types of paper packaging

Paper is a versatile packaging product used throughout the packing process. To give you an idea of the range of products available, we have listed some of the most popular paper packaging commonly used in retail and industrial sectors:

  • Packing Paper – These sheets fill voids within a package to create cushioning and can also be wrapped around shipped items for added protection. For example, products such as crockery, glass and homeware can be given an extra layer of protection.
  • Tissue Paper – This can be a great addition to a standard box, providing products with that extra layer of protection for shipment and making the recipient’s unboxing experience a bit more exciting.
  • Paper Bubble Wrap – This can be used in multiple ways to provide your goods with the ultimate level of protection. Pad out loose spaces inside a box, cushion into corners or wrap around the outside of an object for effective protection. Utilising paper means it’s fully recyclable, which makes it a perfect, environmentally friendly alternative to traditional bubble wrap.
  • Kraft Ribbed Paper – Pure kraft paper is a robust and high-performance wrapping paper, making it a great way to fill out packages or parcels. It prevents movement, helps keep contents safe and secure, and stops unwanted damage from occurring. Packaging papers can also be used to wrap items for extra protection and security when placing things in transit.

What sort of paper packaging do I need?

Check out the guide below to see the paper packaging products you need. The table covers the types of paper packaging we offer at Macfarlane and their various applications.

Type of paper packagingRecycled contentApplications
Cardboard sheets / corrugated sheets0%Single wall and double wall corrugated cardboard sheets can protect and stabilise products within boxes or on pallets. They can be reused and recycled.
Corrugated papers50%Our corrugated single face paper is a lightweight but durable packaging material that’s environmentally friendly. Great for wrapping or void filing between products.
Kraft papers and ribbed imitation kraft papersFrom 0% to 66% depending on the product. Our range of kraft and imitation kraft paper packaging is suitable for several tasks, including light to heavy-duty protection, depending on the product. Waxed kraft paper is also ideal for protecting food or items that need a moisture-resistant barrier.
Packing papersFrom 0% to 66% depending on the product. Packing papers are the perfect way to fill out packages or parcels. They prevent movement, help keep contents safe and secure, and stop unwanted damage from occurring.
Filla paper60%An economical paper packaging option that can be scrunched up for void fill. Available on rolls and can be mounted on walls with a dispenser for easy handling.
Shredded paper0%Fine-cut shredded paper is ideal for creating an attractive presentation for use in gift, retail, and presentational wrapping.
Copier paper50%Macfarlane Packaging’s A4 copier paper is perfect for printing, copying, and writing tasks.
Tissue paper0%Our tissue paper comes in a wide spectrum of shades and finishes. Tissue paper is great for adding a final touch to your parcel, wrapping jewellery or for use in retail environments.
Wrapping paper  0%Not to be confused with gift wrapping paper, our paper for wrapping is a simple yet effective paper packaging solution. It’s a cost-effective choice for storage or moving.
Geami WrapPak0%Geami WrapPak is a unique paper packaging option that features die cut expanding paper lined with tissue. It can provide excellent protection as well as presentation for a wide range of goods.
Ranpak PadPak papers0%PadPak paper provides great cushioning when combined with the right dispenser.
Ranpak Fillpak papers100%Fillpak paper packaging is a practical, economical, and environmentally friendly void-fill solution
paper packaging

Frequently Asked Questions

Below, we have listed some popular questions about paper packaging, but if you have any more queries that are not listed, our team of experts will be happy to help you.

Is paper packaging eco-friendly?

Yes, when correctly designed and used, paper packaging is considered a great eco-friendly alternative. Paper packaging is also biodegradable and compostable, often made from a renewable material that can be recycled. However, some exceptions, like waxed kraft paper, must be disposed of in a general waste stream.   

Is paper packaging better than plastic?

At Macfarlane Packaging, we believe you should always make an informed choice, especially regarding packaging and sustainability.

There is no correct answer in the paper vs plastic packaging debate – both paper packaging and plastic packaging, when designed and used correctly, can help you reduce waste and cut CO₂ from your supply chain.

Both materials have positives and negatives. Which material you choose should depend on your sustainability goals. To help you make an informed choice about your packaging, all our catalogue products have been assigned an Environmental Impact Rating (EIR). The EIR for each product shows the material type if it contains recycled content, and if a product can be recycled or reused. Request a copy of our catalogue to learn more

Can I get custom paper packaging?

Yes! If you can’t find what you’re looking for, our team can help you source any sort of custom packaging you need. This includes custom paper packaging. We can help with printed tissue paper, “zig zag” shredded tissue and paper to add pops of colour to your in-box presentation and also paper packaging automation.

If you would like tailored packaging advice, contact our team of experts today!