Are corrugated kraft paper coffee mailer boxes environmentally friendly?

Amelia Cooper
January 25, 2023
An image of a corrugated kraft paper coffee mailer box with flexible coffee packaging on top in an article on whether corrugated kraft paper coffee mailer boxes are environmentally friendly

For years, kraft paper has been used across the specialty coffee industry to package coffee beans. 

Notably, kraft paper is one of the oldest forms of packaging that is still in use today. It is incredibly strong, versatile, and reliable and is often used to provide rigidity to corrugated cardboard.

Corrugated kraft paper coffee mailer boxes are strong enough to handle delivery and transit while offering an affordable and customisable shipping solution. As a result, their popularity has surged as more roasters use them for subscription services and online sales. 

That said, coffee consumers are realising the environmental impact of their habit, and are looking to be more sustainable when buying coffee. So, how sustainable are corrugated kraft paper coffee mailer boxes?

Learn more about the qualities of corrugated kraft paper coffee mailer boxes and whether they are environmentally friendly. 

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What is corrugated kraft paper?

Corrugated cardboard, sometimes referred to as “corrugated”, is a sturdy packaging material made of three layers of kraft paper. 

Kraft paper is a widely manufactured, extremely strong type of paper. It is commonly used in packaging materials due to its strength, sustainability, and affordability.

What gives kraft paper its sought-after properties is the so-called “virgin fibres” from which it is made. The paper is made from softwood trees. The trees’ wood chips are pulped and then made into thick paper rolls.

As a result, kraft paper is immensely strong and can resist tearing, bursting, and splitting. These qualities make it ideally suited to packaging. 

A corrugated cardboard box is traditionally made using corrugated fibreboard cartons. The boxes feature two main components: the medium, or crimped paper and the liner board or flat cardboard that is glued onto both the inner and outer surfaces of the medium. 

To achieve maximum strength, both of these elements can be made using kraft paper. 

Manufacturing kraft paper is largely sustainable, as it uses entirely organic and natural materials. Furthermore, kraft paper can be recycled multiple times in order to be re-made into kraft paper.

To ensure the paper is made in as environmentally friendly a process as possible, it is advisable for roasters to choose a reputable supplier that uses packaging that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

An image of a coffee roaster packaging a coffee subscription box made from corrugated kraft paper, a corrugated kraft paper coffee mailer box in an article on whether corrugated kraft paper coffee mailer boxes are environmentally friendly.

Why do roasters use corrugated kraft paper coffee mailer boxes?

As many coffee businesses closed temporarily in early 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, more consumers began preparing coffee at home and ordering coffee online. 

This, in turn, increased the popularity of coffee subscription services and roasters are increasingly adding direct-to-customer home shipping to their services.

Expanding to allow customers to buy beans directly can help roasters significantly boost sales numbers. A coffee subscription service is an effective way for roasters to build brand reputation, sell excess stock, or experiment with new methods, blends, and varieties. 

However, to provide a successful coffee subscription service, roasters must ensure the beans are delivered to customers in pristine condition. 

According to consumer insight statistics, the average ecommerce store return rate is 18.1%. Of these returned orders, a whopping 80.2% are sent back because the product is damaged or broken.

For roasters, this represents not only a huge financial loss but also major brand damage as they risk losing repeat orders and customer loyalty. 

Notably, statistics show 84% of UK online shoppers will not make repeat purchases from a retailer after a bad returns experience.

To help minimise this risk, many roasters choose to use corrugated kraft paper mailer boxes when shipping their coffees.

As a packaging material, kraft paper is used across the majority of coffee subscription boxes. This is because it is far stronger than other types of paper which are made using non-virgin fibres. 

Alongside its strength, the material offers a wide range of specific benefits: 

  • Affordable: kraft paper is significantly cheaper than bleached, pristine white cardboard.
  • Recyclable: the material has a high degree of sustainability.
  • Easy customisation: roasters can easily print their logo or other information onto kraft cardboard. Although some light or bright colours can be lost due to the natural brown colour, black ink and other block colours can be cleanly printed on the material. 
  • Stylish & natural finish: the natural texture and brown colour of kraft paper give the packaging an organic and natural effect. This allows roasters to offer a more luxurious-looking product.
An image of bleached kraft paper used to make corrugated kraft paper coffee mailer boxes in an article on whether corrugated kraft paper coffee mailer boxes are environmentally friendly.

Are corrugated kraft paper coffee mailer boxes environmentally friendly?

Kraft paper coffee mailer boxes are, by far, the most environmentally friendly packaging materials. 

The main reason for this is due to the material being entirely composed of organic and natural materials. 

What’s more, kraft paper can also be made using recycled content, as fibres can be reused to produce more kraft paper. 

From an afterlife perspective, kraft paper is 100% recyclable, and can be recycled easily. Notably, kraft paper can be recycled up to seven times.

Alternatively, the material is also readily compostable, as it is exclusively made from wood. 

To maximise the sustainability of corrugated kraft paper coffee mailer boxes, it is recommended roasters use sustainable inks when customising the packaging. 

On the other hand, roasters can choose to customise their corrugated kraft paper coffee mailer boxes using digital printing. Compared to conventional printing, eco-friendly digital printing methods.

Additionally, roasters should ensure any labels or adhesives used on the coffee boxes are made from sustainable materials.

A number of eco-friendly adhesives are available and can be used across the coffee industry.

For example, biodegradable adhesives can be broken down by living organisms and are perfectly suited for biodegradable coffee bags or takeaway cups.

Furthermore, roasters should custom print disposal instructions on corrugated kraft paper coffee mailer boxes. This will ensure customers either reuse their boxes or place them in the appropriate recycling bins.

MTPak Coffee offers corrugated kraft paper coffee mailer boxes that are specifically designed for subscription services.

They are available in a wide range of size options, making them the ideal solution to support your shipping services. Furthermore, our coffee boxes are 100% customisable and can be designed to reflect the uniqueness of your brand.

Made from 100% recycled cardboard, our custom coffee mailer boxes can provide an extra layer of protection to bags of roast coffee beans and coffee pouches, protecting them against any moisture or dampness during transit and delivery.

MTPak Coffee offers our clients a quick turnaround time of 40-hours and 24-hour shipping time. 

We also offer low minimum order quantities (MOQs) to micro-roasters who are looking to remain agile while showcasing brand identity and a commitment to the environment.

For more information on our range of coffee boxes, contact our team.

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