SBS vs SUS Paperboard

SBS vs SUS Paperboard

In today’s packaging landscape, the choice of raw materials can be daunting. The choice of substrate is influenced by a number of key parameters including the requirements of print performance, product protection, design features and requirements, sustainability and overall value.

Two of the most commonly used boards are SBS and SUS. Both SBS and SUS paperboards meet the requirements for the food packaging industry in the US and in Canada.

Solid bleached sulfate (SBS)

SBS is the highest quality and most expensive paperboard substrate. It is produced from bleached virgin wood pulp that is produced with a chemical pulping process.

Most bleached paperboard grades are clay-coated to enhance the smoothness and receptivity of the printing surface. SBS can be treated with a moisture barrier for use in liquid and food packaging. Bleached cellulose pulp has high whiteness, brightness and light stability. Thus, SBS is white throughout the sheet and is ideal for packaging requiring high impact graphics.

The softness and flexibility of SBS provides superior creasing, embossing, and cutting properties with low dust generation, allowing for a wide scope of structural designs. However, the bleaching process also adds cost and reduces stiffness. SBS paperboard has the highest purity and provides food products with the best odor taste and taint protection.

SBS is typically used in high-end packaging, where the impact and quality of the printed image are essential. It is also used in food packaging to ensure taste protection. Common uses are health and beauty packaging, pharmaceutical packaging, and frozen foods.


  • Gives excellent consistency and uniformity to the project;
  • Offers a smooth surface and is great at holding ink making it excellent for printing and consistency of your brand image;
  • Is recyclable and sustainable in order to keep in line with your corporate sustainability objectives.


Solid Unbleached Sulphate (SUS)

SUS, usually created with softwood pulp, results in good tear resistance and the greatest stiffness and strength in relation to basis weight of the paperboard substrates. SUS allows for the use of a lower caliper paperboard relative to other substrates. It also has cost advantages over bleached virgin paperboard.

SUS is used in many folding carton applications, especially when strength and durability are essential. Typical uses are consumer electronics packaging, beverage carriers, dry food packaging, hardware packaging, and packaging for powdered detergents and soaps.

SUS board generally has a better stiffness in comparison to other boards with the same caliper.

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