How Green is Tetrapak?

Tetrapak has been with us for years and what was once an innovative new packaging we now take for granted. Their marketing used to be based on functionality and ease of use, but increasingly they are seeking to position their packaging products on reduced environmental impact.

Tetrapak reputedly has a lower carbon footprint than plastic bottles and is even challenging glass bottles  in the eco-friendly stakes. So do we believe the claims?

Reduced transport costs per item
One of Tetrapak’s big advantages over round bottles, whether plastic or glass, is its square format. Containers stack closely, meaning that a greater number of items can be transported at a time, reducing the carbon footprint of the transport. The weight is significantly less than glass  bottles too, making a big difference in cost and carbon footprint for any items being shipped long distances.

Tetrapak latest designProduction
The resources used in production of Tetrapak, are another matter. While they use far less petroleum products than plastic bottles, they are based on cardboard which of course uses trees. In the past this has been a sticking point in the eco-friendly claims, but Tetrapak have now addressed this with their latest product – the Tetra Brik Aseptic 1000 Edge: it uses Forest Stewardship Council certified packaging material, meaning that the cardboard comes from renewable forestry sources. To this they have added green polyethylene closures which will be available from 2012.

The final aspect to look at for carbon footprint is how recyclable Tetrapak actually is. It ought to be fully recyclable, but, in many areas, city councils and municipalities don’t have the facilities to recycle it. In these cases it just adds to the landfill problem. This however isn’t really Tetrapak’s problem, as theoretically their packaging can be recycled.

All in all it seems that Tetrapak is making great efforts to be environmentally friendly. Though it’s probably going to be a while before the consumers are convinced that buying wine in Tetrapaks rather than glass bottles is the way to go!

Check out this article which compares Tetrapak with plastic bottles for carbon footprint purposes.
And keep an eye out here for the latest news in packaging .