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Renewable materials are the foundation of the world's most sustainable food package

The future of packaging: responsible, renewable and recyclable

As the global demand for packaged foods rises, the need to find more sustainable packaging solutions becomes more urgent. Much of the food packaging we use today is made of fossil- based plastic, and if plastic production continues to rise it may account for 15% of the planet's annual carbon emissions budget by 2050[1].  

But there is hope on the horizon. As consumers demand more climate-friendly solutions, food producers and retailers are responding by using more plant-based alternatives in their packaging. Plant-based renewable resources are natural materials, such as wood and sugarcane, that absorb CO2 from the atmosphere as they grow.

The greater the share of renewable materials a package contains, the lower the climate impact[2]. That makes renewable packaging an important part of the move towards a low-carbon circular economy. As the use of renewable materials grows, responsible, sustainable sourcing will become even more important. To maintain fragile ecosystems, companies will need to promote biodiversity, land restoration and regeneration of the land.​

Achieving the world's most sustainable package

Our ambition is to deliver the world's most sustainable food package. Currently, our carton packages are made of on average 70% paperboard from renewable wood fibres. And we're working to increase this by, for instance, offering paper-based straws and sugarcane-based plastic layers and caps.

To ensure that our materials are sourced responsibly and sustainably, we are working to voluntary sustainability standards, such as those from the Forest Stewardship CouncilTM (FSCTM)[3].  100% of our packages are FSCTM-certified, meaning that the forests where we source our raw materials are managed in a way that protects biodiversity and ensures renewability.

We want to ensure responsible sourcing, even when exploring new alternatives in renewable packaging, which is why all our sugarcane-based plastic is Bonsucro-certified. This means it's fully traceable to its sugarcane origin, ensuring a transparency that drives ethical, responsible business practices across the full supply chain.​

As a founding member of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI), we're helping to set global standards that raise the bar for aluminium production, both environmentally and socially, and we require all our aluminium foil suppliers to be ASI-certified. Finally, we aim for fully recyclable carton packages made solely from renewable and recycled materials.

 

[1] Nature.com, Future scenarios of global plastic waste generation and disposal

[2] Tetra Pak ECA, LCA 2020 

[3] ​The FSC license code for Tetra Pak is FSC™ C014047​

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Certified for consumers

Certified for consumers

In packaging, circularity starts with using the right raw materials. Find out how we support our customers with certified packaging.

Top shelf opportunities

Top shelf opportunities

As sustainability changes the face of the food and beverage industry, brands are having to shift their efforts to meet the demands of today – and the future. Learn how our sustainable packaging can help you harness new opportunities.

The first fully renewable package to hit the shelves

In 2014, we were the first in our industry to introduce a package made from fully plant-based renewable materials. Manufactured only with paperboard and sugarcane-based plastics, the Tetra Rex® Plant-based package is fully renewable and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Today, we’ve delivered more than 1 billion Tetra Rex® packages to customers around the world.
Tetra Rex Plant-based - the first fully-renewable package

The first to introduce paper straws in Europe

In 2019, we were the first company to launch paper-based straws in Europe. The straws are fully functional and meet internationally recognised food safety standards. This was an important step in our vision to deliver an aseptic package made entirely from plant-based materials.
Boy drinking milk, Tetra Brik Aseptic carton with paper straw

Transitioning to sustainably sourced plant-based polymers

In 2011, we started using plant-based polymers to make components including caps and laminate film. At the same time, we started collaborating with our polymer supplier to achieve our goal of sustainably sourced plant-based polymers. To meet all our sustainability requirements, our supplier had to achieve Bonsucro Chain of Custody certification. Implementing the necessary traceability all the way through the supply chain meant that in 2019, we became the first in our industry to use responsibly sourced sugarcane. Our ambition is to fully replace fossil-based polymers with renewable and/or recycled polymers.
Sugar cane plants, raw material for plant-based polymers

Giving consumers the information they want

We want to help consumers choose more environmentally-friendly packaging options. That’s why we asked the Carbon Trust to independently verify the methodology we use to calculate carbon footprints. The result is our Carton CO2e Calculator, where you can find the carbon footprint of our cartons.

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Join the movement

Join the movement – sign up for our newsletter

Sign up for our limited newsletter series where we will share insights, innovation milestones and helpful advice on the matters of sustainable packaging.