Why renewable polymers in packaging material matter

Polymers used in food and beverage packaging can be derived from plant-based materials like sugar cane, which are renewable if responsibly sourced. When this is the case, it can reduce the packaging’s impact on climate change compared to that of traditional packaging materials, such as plastics derived from fossil fuels1.

Renewability credentials for polymers

Carton package with green background

Pioneering plant-based polymers in packaging materials

In 2015, we were the first in our industry to introduce a package made entirely from plant-based renewable materials (paperboard from sustainable forestry and plant-based polymers): Tetra Rex® Plant-based. We have continued this development and sold 24% more packages (8.8 billion) and 12% more caps (11.9 billion) made with plant-based plastic in 2022, compared to 20212. The amount of plant-based plastic used in 2022 equals to 131 kilo tonnes of CO2 saved compared to fossil-based plastic3. Today, all plant-based polymers in our packaging materials are Bonsucro-certified, and by adopting plant-based polymers in our food and beverage packaging, we aim to limit the depletion of finite resources and mitigate climate change.

Our Tetra Pak Certificate Code is PBN-BSC-ChoC-012970.

Carbon neutral labelling by the Carbon Trust™

Our customers already using plant-based packaging and caps may have the option of certifying their packages as carbon neutral by the Carbon Trust™. The principle behind carbon neutral certification is “first reduce then offset”. This means that Tetra Pak has only included packaging with plant-based polymers for certification. Then, we procure carbon credits to compensate for the package’s residual emissions. These credits fund Gold Standard-certified climate projects worldwide. The Carbon Trust™ has certified the carbon footprint of our plant-based packaging and caps and, upon considering our carbon management plan, has certified these packaging solutions as carbon neutral, in compliance with the internationally recognised PAS2060 standard. Our qualifying explanatory statement (QES) documents show how we measure, reduce, and offset the emissions of the Carbon Trust-certified packages; it also includes the certification letter and offset documentation.

ISCC logo

ISCC Plus (International Sustainability & Carbon Certification)

ISCC is a multi-stakeholder certification system established in 2010 to support the shift towards the circular economy and bioeconomy. This leading certification scheme applies on a global scale for different raw materials and markets.

Our packaging material factory and additional materials factory in Mexico were certified by the ISCC PLUS system. In 2022, we started the ISCC PLUS certification process for a number of our European production sites.

Our strategic ambitions and 2030 targets for plant-based and certified recycled polymers

• Full traceability for our raw materials5
• Production of material should not cause deforestation
• Promote biodiversity, reforestation and regeneration
• Credible sustainability certification and third-party verification of renewable polymers and their feedstock

• In 2022 we published a Procedure for responsible sourcing of renewable polymers, outlining our requirements specifically applicable to renewable polymers sourcing. We expect all suppliers of renewable polymers to comply with the procedure, and the commitments for sustainable sourcing of renewable polymers as stated.

Customer case

The world’s first cap made from certified recycled polymers4

In collaboration with Elvir, a subsidiary of Savencia Fromage & Dairy, Tetra Pak has become the first carton packaging player in the food and beverage industry to launch a cap using certified recycled polymers.

Further explore our responsibly sourced materials

Forests seen from the top


On average, the paperboard content of our beverage cartons is more than 70%. When responsibly sourced, paperboard is a renewable resource that can, result in a lower carbon footprint than glass, plastic or metal packages.

close-up of an aluminum roll


Aluminium foil layer thinner than human hair prevents oxidation and light damage, helping to reduce food waste by extending the shelf-life of food without refrigeration.

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1By “traditional packaging material” we compare to some other packaging alternatives for beverages and liquid food. This is based on Lifecycle Assessment (LCA). Read more about LCAs at https://www.tetrapak.com/sustainability/measuring-and-reporting/life-cycle-assessment

2Volumes exclude Blend in BIO (BiB) sold in Brazil. BiB is a mix of 75% LDPE and 25% plant-based LDPE.

3Based on climate accounting internal calculations (volume x emission factor) considering 72.7 kilo tonnes of plant-based plastic purchased in 2022. To calculate the figure for emissions avoided, we use the emissions factor for plant-based polymers from a publicly available lifecycle assessment produced by Braskem. Source: https://www.braskem.com.br/acv-studies

4A ‘certified recycled polymer’ is a plastic whose cost includes a premium that finances the collection, sorting, cleaning and processing of plastic waste that cannot be recycled via conventional mechanical means. The third-party certification verifies that the required amount of plastic waste has been recycled into raw material for making new plastics.

5The concept of traceability refers to the tracking of a product throughout its production, processing and distribution phases, from the procurement of the raw materials for its manufacture until it reaches the end consumer.