Experts believe the worldwide paper bag market will reach $5.4 billion soon. Further, they think it will be valued at $8.3 billion by 2023. This has been a big jump since its inception.
In the early 1850s, the first version of brown paper bags was invented by Francis Wolle. It was an envelope shape. Then, in the 1870s, Margaret Knight designed a paper bag machine that produced flat bags.
Today’s version you see at your local grocery store is thanks to Knight’s machine. It created ones that unfold at the bottom in a square shape.
While machines do a lot of work, that’s not all. Please keep reading for the fascinating way brown paper bags make their way to your local brick-and-mortar stores, which ultimately end up in your arms.
A Tradition of Paper Bag Manufacturing
Paper bag manufacturing has developed tremendously over the years. Still, the basic principle of making paper bags is the same as it always was. A large paper bag machine produces paper bags.
For each brown paper bag that is made, one gallon of water is necessary to make it. The process starts with paper pulp. Essentially, this is thin wood shavings from trees.
The trees must be dry for at least three years before making pulp for paper. Then, the dried bark is stripped. They are cut into one-inch strips.
Time to Cook the Pulp
Using pressure and heat, the pulp is cooked. After this, the pulp is pressed into flat rolls, sheets, or paper. Then, they are cut to size.
Typically, the paper is cut to twice the height required for the finished bag. Next, it is folded. The parallel ends are glued together, and sometimes using heating and pressing.
As a result, you have simple flat brown paper bags. It could be used for grocery bags. There are more complex designs, but the process is the same.
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What Is a Paper Bag Made of?
Various types of paper can be used. The material should depend on the design, style, and the bag’s use. A kraft paper bag machine uses standard brown paper, which could come in any color if you need a colored bag.
Paper bags can also come in laminated kraft paper. The plastic coating works well for keeping moisture out, which would otherwise soak through the paper. This is brilliant for food packaging needs.
When a paper bag has kraft paper in it, the bag could be any color. It does not have to be brown. Also, kraft paper bags can be of any weight.
Often, a brown paper bag is made of 60gsm paper. These come in many different sizes, too.
GSM stands for “Grams per Square Meter.” It is a unit of measurement that helps people to understand how thick a material is.
Recycled Kraft Paper
In a more eco-conscious world, recycled materials are popular and reflect well when advertised by the brand. Customers love doing business with companies that are Earth-friendly. Often, such bags use 110 gsm kraft paper, which is a strong option.
Although, it is common for today’s paper bag manufacturing companies to use a combination of the two. They choose a mixture of recycled and raw paper.
Disposing of Brown Paper Bags
It’s environmentally friendly. Not only that, but it is quick and easy. The three essential methods of paper bag disposal are recycling, reusing, and composting.
Since paper bags are made of paper, they can be recycled. Avoiding more of a pile-up in today’s landfills is something to truly celebrate!
According to the EPA, paper bags and sacks have a recovery rate of about 50%. Meanwhile, around one to three percent of plastic bags are recycled annually.
To recycle the typical brown paper bag, first, it is shredded. Then it is boiled and returned to paper pulp. From here, the process starts again, with the paper pulp being rolled into a new sheet and cut.
Composting Your Paper Bags
Another way to dispose of paper bags is with composting. You first need a compost bin with kitchen scraps and garden waste already started. After that, you can begin adding paper materials.
Paper bags will decompose in about a month. A plastic bag, however, will take five to ten years to decompose.
Although, if you have a paper bag in good condition and no rips, it is a good idea to reuse it in its original form. You can continue to use it until it no longer holds well.
A paper bag in a standard size could hold up to 14 items. A plastic bag, on the other hand, typically holds five to ten items.
How Paper Bags Are Made
While the world is rapidly evolving, the way people make brown paper bags has not changed. To manufacture them, you still need trees, paper pulp, machines, rolls of paper, and cutting. The best part is that even if the process is traditional, you can create a style that is all your own.
A kraft paper bag machine can great the color, weight, and size that speaks to your brand. Plus, what is not to love with something practical and environmentally friendly?
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