Deriving its name from the German word for strong, kraft paper is a sturdy machine-made paper that is created using wood pulp. The finished product can be used in a number of different applications, ranging from wrapping meat at the butcher shop to paper grocery bags.
Using a process that involves pulverizing the wood pulp and blending the material into large sheets of strong brown wood filament, kraft paper is an expensive option when it comes to paper products. While the natural paper is brown in appearance, it is possible to bleach the product and create a range of shades between the natural brown and pure white. The method used to make it, called the kraft process, includes the use of sulfate in the conditioning of the wood pulp, which also helps to add to the overall strength of the finished paper.
Kraft paper can be utilized for many different purposes. One of the most common uses of the plain brown paper is in the manufacture of paper bags for use in grocery stores. Their solid construction makes the bags ideal for use with all sorts of grocery items. While many grocers have switched to the use of plastic bags, many supermarket chains continue to offer customers the option of receiving their purchases in bags made from paper.
Butcher shops often make use of the bleached kraft paper as a wrap from fresh cuts of meat. For many years, consumers would place meats sealed in paper in the freezer, if the intent was to prepare the meat over the next few days. While many meat counters at supermarkets now use plastic trays and plastic seal wrap with their meats, many independent grocers and butcher shops still use the familiar white paper.
Kraft paper is sometimes used for home crafts as well. A section of it is an ideal medium for the creation of homemade costumes for Halloween or a costume party. Children can draw on bleached or unbleached paper without a lot of worry about markers leaking through to tabletops. People who want to be more natural and creative with their gift wrap may choose to use this paper for wrapping gifts, often embellishing with other natural elements or using markers or stencils to create a unique design.
Other industries also use kraft paper. In the publishing industry, it is often used as the lining for the inside cover spine of hardback books. In the world of electronics, the paper is often used as an insulating agent on electrical components, providing a sturdy yet inexpensive means of protecting the material. Envelopes for both mailing and use as interoffice communications are often made with it, owing to the relative thickness and sturdy nature of the paper.