Paper-Based Packaging

Paper and paper-based packaging are essential components of modern life. Communication, food, and consumer products are just a few of the things that are improved upon and more easily accessible as a result of paper and paper-based packaging.

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; paperboard packages food, medicine and toiletries for handy storage and display; and paper bags give customers a sustainable option to carry their purchases home.

The paper and packaging industry is an important part of the U.S. economy. The industry has product sales of $115 billion a year, employs almost 400,000 people, and pays approximately $30 billion in annual compensation. If jobs at supplier industries and jobs associated with re-spending of wages in local communities are included, the industry is responsible for almost 1.3 million jobs. Many of these jobs are in rural communities where alternative employment opportunities are limited.

Meeting consumers’ demand for paper and packaging is only possible now and in the future because of papermakers’ commitment to sustainability.

  • In 2016, 67.2 percent of the paper consumed in the U.S. was recovered for recycling.
  • U.S paper recovery has grown by 76 percent since 1990, when the paper industry established its first recovery goal to advance recycling;
  • Links on the upper left of this page provide overviews of the history and facts about paper, recycling, and public policies that impact the production and use of paper.


Paper-Based Packaging Products



Paperboard (also known as boxboard) is a thick, paper-based material that is generally thicker than regular paper.

It is used for products such as milk cartons, cereal boxes, shoe boxes and frozen food packaging.

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Corrugated Boxes

Corrugated is a durable, versatile, low and lightweight paper-based material that is frequently used to make boxes, containers, and displays.

It is most commonly made up of two smooth sheets, called "liner," with an arched layer, called "fluting," in between them but there are many types of corrugated available, each with different flute sizes and thicknesses.

Corrugated has a great environmental record. It is frequently manufactured using high percentages of secondary fiber, including old corrugated containers, paper bags, paperboard boxes, and old newspapers.

In 2011, 91 percent of corrugated was recovered for recycling in the United States. That makes corrugated the most recycled packaging material used today.

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Paper bags

A paper bag is a pre-formed container made from paper. They usually have an opening on one side for easy packaging.

Paper bags come in a variety of shapes and sizes and exist with or without handles for carrying. Often, paper bags are printed with store and/or brand logos.

Paper shopping bags, brown paper bags, paper grocery bags, paper bread bags and other light duty paper bags are made from a single layer of paper. Other types of paper bags are made from multiple layers of paper and other flexible materials.
Paper bags are ideal as a container to hold compostable waste. They are readily compostable, as evidenced by its use throughout the country in municipal leaf mulching programs.

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Paper Shipping Sacks

Paper shipping sacks, also known as multi-wall paper sacks, are often used as containers to ship bulk materials such as fertilizer, animal feed, sand, dry chemicals, flour and cement.

Most paper shipping sacks are made from several layers of sack Kraft paper, which is elastic and tear-resistant, a printed external layer, and inner plies. Some paper sacks also have a layer of water-repellent foil or coated paper to protect their cargo.

For more information on paper sacks, please visit