​​​​​An investment in our future

We are always thinking about the broader impact of our operations on the environment and society, and we believe that post-consumer recycling is an investment in our future. The layers that make up an aseptic carton – paper fibres, polymers and aluminium – can all be recycled using relatively simple techniques and turned into new products, cutting the amount of waste sent to landfill and reducing demand for resources.

Tetra Pak has been promoting and facilitating post-consumer recycling for many years. Our activities span the entire recycling value chain and include:

  • increasing consumer awareness
  • supporting collection and sorting infrastructure
  • boosting business opportunities for recycling entrepreneurs, and
  • expanding market opportunities for recycled materials.

Ensuring accurate reporting

Recycling is a central part of our strategic priority to drive environmental excellence. Our overall objective is to increase recycling, and in 2010 we set ourselves a goal of doubling our rate to 40% by 2020. Over the past five years, we have succeeded in increasing the number of our packages that are recycled annually from 32 billion to 43 billion, and the percentage from 20.1% to 23.6%: equivalent to one in every four cartons, compared with one in every five.

At the same time, we are continually working to improve the accuracy and credibility of our reporting. In the absence of any global reporting platforms for recycled packaging, we have developed our own systems for tracking progress across the 80 markets where we know carton recycling is happening, and we work continually to improve accuracy and credibility. This year we launched our Recycling Rate Reliability project, setting clear minimum requirements for reporting and verifying recycling rates and introducing a new methodology which is now being rolled out across the clusters. As a result, our reported recycling rate has fallen slightly; but we have greater confidence in the overall accuracy and robustness of our data. The reported rate should be treated as a minimum: we are aware of additional volumes being recycled, although we cannot validate the precise figures.

Partnership working

For consumers, recycling is the most important environmental attribute of a product. So for our customers, recycling is an important source of competitive advantage, as well as being vital to protecting the environment and safeguarding resources for the future.

While we don’t own or operate any recycling services ourselves – nor use recycled paperboard in our packaging – we act as a catalyst to encourage recycling, working with partners and stakeholders in countries around the world, adapting our approach to reflect local conditions. Over 160 companies in more than 45 markets – from small enterprises to multinational companies – currently recycle the base materials used in Tetra Pak cartons.

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