Tag Archives: Reusable bags

Brown paper bags guide: How are paper bags made

Imagine a technology that could totally revolutionise packaging and the delivery of goods. That could protect and enclose and which could also feature branding and other information? Well, paper bags did just that when they emerged in the mid-late 1800s in the US.Paper bags

But how are paper bags made, what are paper bags made from and what can paper bags be used for? In our guide, we take a look at the ingenuity and simplicity behind these useful everyday packing staples. And show you how they can be used for everything from storing your bits and bobs, to giving gifts the wow factor.

Who invented the paper bag?

While the inventor of the paper bag is lost to obscurity, the invention of the bag’s square bottomed design is widely accredited to one Luther Childs Crowell of Wellfleet in Massachusetts.

Luther Childs Crowell, inventor of the grocery bag

Luther Childs Crowell, inventor of the grocery bag (right) and one of the most famous people to come from Cape Cod (Image: The Real Cape)

When was the paper bag invented? While Crowell’s flat-bottomed bag appeared in the 1870s, one Francis Wolle, a US schoolteacher, invented the first machine to mass-produce these bags as early as the 1850s. Wolle and his brother patented the machine and founded the Union Paper Bag Company, which leads us nicely to how paper bags are made.

How are paper bags manufactured?

Paper bags are manufactured from paper pulp, which is pressed into flat sheets or rolls of paper. These rolls of paper are cut to size, that means twice the required height of the finished bag. These cut sheets are then folded over and the two parallel open sides glued together. This can either be by pressing the glues sides together or heating and pressing.

This makes a simple flat bag made from paper.

Flat white paper bags with gusset

To make a more complex flat-bottom design, a similar process is followed. Only, there are more complex folds at the bottom of the bag so that the finished bag is square or oblong with an open top.Brown paper bags

For bags with handles, separate paper handles are then fixed using adhesive glue.

Plain brown paper carrier bags with folded handles

What are paper bags made out of

What are paper bags made of would, on the face of it, seem to be a silly question: paper. But there are many designs and styles, all made from different kinds of paper depending on what the bag is going to be used for.

Standard brown bags are made from Kraft paper, but it can be made from all kinds of paper and in any colour.Coloured paper bags

Kraft bags can also be made from laminated paper. This has a plastic coating on the inside to protect the bag from moisture from the goods contained in it or to keep moisture out.

Bags made from Kraft paper can also be designed in any colour and any weight of Kraft paper. These are typically made from 60gsm paper and come in a huge range of sizes.

More sturdy Kraft paper gift bags are made from 90gsm paper and can be coloured, or brown – or retro polka dot style.

As with all things paper, it can also be made from recycled paper and recycled Kraft paper. This offers a good, sturdy and environmentally friendly way to package goods, gifts and more. Typically, these are made from strong 110gsm recycled Kraft paper.

A paper bag for any occasion

Why use paper bags?

Paper bags can be used for so many things. Bags made from paper are a cheap, easy and are a sustainable way to store and deliver all manner of things – so long as they aren’t wet, or really heavy.

How to measure a paper bag is simple: measure its height, width and depth (gusset) – multiply these together and you will get its volume.

How much can a paper bag hold depends on its size. These handy bags come in all sorts of sizes from small ones measuring 200x300x100mm right up to ones as big as sacks measuring 450x800x290mm.

Heavy duty, strong paper bags

How much weight can a paper bag hold depends again on its size and on the strength of the paper used. Small bags made of 70gsm Kraft paper have a breaking strain of 4kg, while the largest paper sacks made of 90gsm paper can take ten times that, having a breaking strain of 40kg.

In between lie the myriad sizes of bags available, each able to take a weight of 40kg or less. To see the full range of available sizes and their relative strengths, take a look at this chart.

For additional advice on paper packaging, our Packaging Experts are here to help you find the right solutions and arrange next day delivery. Simply call us on 0800 542 44 28 or visit www.rajapack.co.uk.

Inside Rajapack: A history of the RAJA Group

In 1954, Rachel Marcovici and Janine Rocher laid the foundations for the international company that we now know as the RAJA group. What started as a two-woman company in struggling post-war France has grown into a multi-national packaging giant, with subsidiaries in 14 countries across Europe. As of 2015 they have an annual turnover of 440 million euros and employ 1600 people.

Do you know where the name ‘RAJA’ actually comes from? Or how many copies of the first ever Rajapack catalogue were printed?  To answer all this and more, we’ve taken a look at how Cartons RAJA grew into the RAJA Group, and how they spread its roots across Europe and into the UK.

Rachel Marcovici
1954
– Cartons RAJA, whose name come from an amalgamation of the first two letters of each founding member’s first name: RAchel and JAnine, begins life under the shadow of the Eiffel tower. Starting with just one shop, Cartons RAJA specialise in recycled cardboard boxes, as they are cheaper to buy than brand new ones.

Late 1950s – In a periodwhere France was still recovering from the World War 2, the low prices of these recycled cardboard boxes, coupled with the energy and entrepreneurial spirit of Rachel Marcovici, means RAJA Cartons quickly flourish. The company expand to include new product lines, have ten employees and boast a turnover of one million francs (around £14,640 in today’s pound sterling).Danielle Marcovici

1962 – Danièle Kapel-Marcovici (President-Director of RAJA in 2015), daughter of Rachel Marcovici, begins working as a sales rep for the company at the age of 16. She would go on to stay in that post for the next 10 years.

 Catalogue1975 – The catalogue era begins. Cartons RAJA’s advertising department release their first ever product catalogue; a 24 page, black and white brochure which highlights 365 products. 10 copies are printed.

1982 – Danièle Kapel-Marcovici becomes Managing Director of Cartons RAJA, stepping up from her role as Sales and Marketing Director which she had held for the previous 4 years. Over the next 10 years, she would optimise the operations of the entire company, structuring all activities around key strategic teams such as purchasing, catalogue sales, product marketing, accounts, logistics, IT and human resources.  Her work pays off as Cartons RAJA pioneer the direct selling of packaging materials.

1990 – Cartons RAJA drop the ‘Cartons’ from their name and rename themselves: RAJA.

1992 – The company’s turnover grew to 316 million francs (almost 5 times what it had been 10 years previously). They employ 190 people.Rajapack Website

1994 – 2000 – RAJA becomes an international company by developing subsidiaries in Holland and Germany as well as purchasing BINPAC in Belgium and AID-PACK in the UK.

AID-PACK, which will later become RAJAPACK UK, are specialists in strapping. When AID-PACK are purchased in 1998, they have sales of £2 million.

2001 – RAJA create their digital offering and continue to develop their multi-channel marketing and sales strategy with the creation of their first online store (www.raja.fr).

2002 – Rajapack UKremain a catalogue-sales focussed organisation but move into the digital space with the creation and launch of their own website.

 2003 – 2012 – European expansion continues with the creation of subsidiaries in Spain, Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden.

RAJA in Europe

2015 – RAJA purchase Morplan; a major player in the distance selling of supplies and equipment to the UK retail sector.

The story of the RAJA Group continues to grow and is led by the people who work here.

Our staff are determined to keep the company moving forward, providing quality service and packaging products to our customers. Because of this, our staff retention record is an enviable one. Recently, 9 of our staff, ranging from warehouse workers to the Head of Customer Marketing, were awarded for long service to the company of 10 years or more.

The values that RAJA Group was built upon; empowering women and sustainability, still apply today. The RAJA-Danièle Marcovici Foundation, created under the aegis of the Fondation de France in 2006, support community projects for women in France and around the world.

We also put a large focus on environmentally friendly packaging, just like RAJA Cartons did when they started selling second hand cardboard boxes to Parisians way back in 1954.

The RAJA Group has now been supplying packaging materials for customers at competitive prices for over 60 years, a fact that we are very proud of.  Our long history and heritage have taught us to always keep the customer at the forefront of everything we do.

Marks & Spencer donate percentage from charges on plastic bags to charity

Retail giant Marks & Spencer is to donate £3 million raised from its 5p charge on plastic bags to a charity dedicated to fighting litter on the UK’s beaches and helping to save endangered marine animals such as dolphins and turtles.

M&S were among the first national retail chains to impose a fee for plastic bags in order to give people an incentive to switch to reusable bags. The charge has had a profound effect on the habits of shoppers, and, since the fee was instituted, M&S has been able to cut down its plastic bag use by 80%.

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