The anatomy of
Tetra Pak® carton packages

Our packages have been in constant development since we started more than 70 years ago. Then, as now, paperboard is the primary material used to produce our carton packages. We use just enough to make the package stable, without adding unnecessary weight. Paperboard is made from wood fibres, a renewable resource that, if managed responsibly, grows back.

Anatomy of Tetra Pak carton-packages

Please note, this video is for illustration purposes only. The packaging material structure may vary across the package portfolio.


On average, more than 70 percent of a Tetra Pak carton by weight is paperboard. Although we don't own or manage any forests, we apply our purchasing power to promote sustainable forest management.


Polymers protect against outside moisture and enables the paperboard to stick to the aluminium foil. Plastic is also used to make caps, closures, and straws. In 2011 we launched the industry's first caps made from plant-based polymers while in 2020, we introduced certified recycled plastics in our carton packages, increasing the circularity of our packages.

Aluminium foil

On the inside of our aseptic cartons, a layer of aluminium eight times thinner than a human hair provides vital protection from oxygen and light, keeping perishable food safe without refrigeration for months. We are continually innovating to make this layer as thin as possible and working towards developing an aseptic package that uses an alternative material for its barrier layer.

Our ambition

Our ambition is to develop the world’s most sustainable food package – which is fully made of responsibly sourced renewable or recycled materials, fully recyclable and carbon-neutral.

Towards the world’s most sustainable food package

In 2018, we started to restructure our packaging portfolio innovation strategy around our vision of the ideal beverage carton – one made fully of responsibly sourced renewable or recycled materials, fully recyclable, and carbon-neutral. In 2019, we significantly accelerated our development efforts and increased our investment to achieve this vision, focusing on the following four goals/workstreams:

  1. Increase the share of renewable materials by removing layers of fossil-based plastic and/or replacing them with plant-based alternatives.
  2. Use certified recycled polymers and paper in our packaging materials.
  3. Develop innovative openings that address litter, such as tethered caps.
  4. Enhance recycling through packaging design.

Our renewable portfolio

We are continuously working to increase the renewable content in our products by, for example, offering paper-based straws and sugarcane-based plastic layers and caps. At the same time we are working to voluntary sustainability standards such as those from Forest Stewardship Council(FSC) and Bonsucro. Now, we are taking one step further, going beyond CO2 emissions and offering our customers a carbon-neutral package, certified by The Carbon Trust.

Recycling and circularity

Recycling is an important part of circularity and for it to be effective, food packages need to be recyclable by design. To achieve this, we’re designing our paper-based carton packages for recycling, increasing the fibre content and reducing the amount of plastics and aluminium to make our packaging more attractive to recyclers and easier to recycle. It’s all part of our ambition to develop a package fully made of responsibly sourced renewable or recycled materials, fully recyclable and carbon-neutral.