Packaging plays an important role in protecting food and drinks and ensuring valuable resources do not go to waste. Beverage cartons have a lower climate impact than glass, metal and plastic packaging according to recent Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies.
The climate impact of beverage cartons


Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a method of measuring the environmental impact of a product throughout its lifecycle. It analyses all stages in the value chain including energy production, extraction and use of raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, handling, recycling and waste.

The LCA used by Tetra Pak was conducted by an independent research institute and reviewed by an independent international panel of experts. It is conducted as a fully ISO 14040/14044 compliant LCA study for the European market. The facts and figures highlighted here are based on the study.


Renewable materials are better for the climate: they absorb CO₂ in the atmosphere, as opposed to fossil-based materials, that release new CO₂, which was stored in the ground for millions of years. Paperboard made from wood fibres, and plant-based plastic made from sugar cane, are renewable materials. The results from the ifeu LCA 2020 show that the greater the share of renewable materials a package contains, the lower the climate impact. Therefore, from a climate perspective, beverage cartons are a good solution compared to alternative fossil-based materials.
Leading development with new materials


In the dairy chilled category, as an example, Tetra Pak packages demonstrate between 32% and as much as 95% lower climate impact compared to alternative packaging. Tetra Rex® Plant-based shows the best performance due to a high share of renewable materials thanks to a switch to plant-based plastic. This, for example, improves performance versus the standard Tetra Rex® package - 48% better Climate profile (19kg CO₂e/1000L vs. 36). Tetra Rex (standard package variant) has a 67% better performance than a PET bottle, whereas Tetra Rex 1L Plant-based, with OSO 34 opening shows 83% lower climate impact in the same case.
The climate impact of beverage cartons


Lightweight packaging is better from a climate perspective. E.g. A carton package’s lightweight structure and shape result in high transport efficiency and fuel savings during transport in liquid food products value chain. Recycling is important to improve material use and reduce environmental impact. Beverage cartons are recyclable through a straightforward process to separate paper fiber from other materials, using only water and blending equipment.
Beverage cartons are transport efficient