Paperboard Types Explained

July 16, 2020

Paperboard packaging comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. A particular paperboard substrate is chosen depending on what a package is designed to do. In this article, we will go over the most common substrates of paperboard and why you might choose each one.

URB/BC – Uncoated Recycle Board or Bending Chipboard. This board is usually brown with specs throughout and contains post-consumer waste. It is typically the most economical option, so if you’re on a tight budget, this is for you.

CCK/CUK – Clay Coated Kraft board or Coated Unbleached Kraft board. This is Virgin paperboard that is not bleached. One side is clay coated white and the other side is brown Kraft. The coated side is a great surface for printing your own design and offers slight grease resistance compared to uncoated board. Additionally, many bakery boxes are reversible, so you can have the white on the inside and brown on the outside if you prefer.

CCNB/CCRB – Clay Coated Newsboard or Clay Coated Recycled board. The big benefit to this board is that it is made with 100% recycled paperboard, so it’s a great way to be environmentally friendly by reusing resources. One side is clay coated white for printability, and the other side has a grey tone. Like URB, it is also a more economical option.

Kraft – Unbleached Virgin Paperboard that is brown throughout. The brown color is often associated with a natural, rustic or home baked look, so if that is the style you are going for, this would be a good material choice.

SBS – This is Solid Bleached Sulfate paperboard made with virgin bleached wood pulp. It’s white on both sides and most often coated. The coating makes it great for printing your own custom design. The white interior is great for a clean look that makes your product pop.

It is important to note that clay coating is part of the board manufacturing process and should not be confused with a poly coating, which can be applied for grease resistance after the board is made.


Coated boards are great for printing. They have a smooth, almost glossy finish on white that accents almost any print. That being said, you can print on brown Kraft board, and we have had some lovely designs from customers who have done so. Printing is a great way to personalize your packaging and promote your brand. If you’d like to read more about it, see this article.

Lastly, while there are different types of paperboard, they do not have to be separated to be recycled, unlike plastic or glass. This makes the recycling process much smoother!

Now that you know more about substrates, have a look through our catalog to see which products best suit your needs.

Bakery Packaging

Foodservice Packaging