The Carton Match: school competition fosters recycling awareness in Nordics

Among consumers in the Nordic countries, recycling has been a significant environmental matter for many years. Tetra Pak initiated "The Carton Match" (Kartongmatchen) school competition to boost recycling rates of carton packages and actively engage the younger generation in Sweden in 2012. Similar initiatives have since been launched in Finland (Kartonkikilpailu) and Denmark (Kartondysten).

Background and initiative – collaborating to spread recycling awareness

The primary objective of "The Carton Match" is to spread knowledge about the importance of recycling, its processes, and the value of used cartons as a resource for creating new products. The competition offers a unique opportunity for schoolchildren to participate and learn about recycling and environmental initiatives actively.

Tetra Pak teamed up with Skånemejerier, FTI, Arla, Norrmejerier, and Fiskeby recycling mill in Sweden. We joined forces with Eckes Granini, Fazer Aito, and Rinki for the Finnish initiative. Sun Lolly, Naturli, Rynkeby, Fiskeby, Skoletjenesten and Cirkulær joined the initiative in Denmark.

Kids recycling carton packages at a recycling station

Image: Children using a recycling station

Results – healthy competition in three countries

In 2015, The Carton Match launched a Swedish-language digital platform at The site provides educational and inspiring materials, videos, and tasks related to the environment and recycling. It features real-time information on the competition, such as the number of participants and their reported collection rates.

The Finnish language version is available at and the Danish site at Since 2019, users can follow and compare collection rates and participants at the municipal level as well as view a graph representing the participating countries. Teachers and administrators can sign up to involve their schools via each country’s website.

Together, Tetra Pak and colleagues collaborated to create the following contests or "matches" designed to encourage the active involvement of children and their families in recycling practices:

  • Match 1: Recycle cartons at home and publish their work on the Carton Challenge website
  • Match 2: Create a recycling campaign that is selected for printing on real cartons
  • Match 3: Spread the news about recycling to at least 100 persons

These tasks are thoughtfully designed to instil improved recycling habits in children and their families and inspire them to share their knowledge with others. Through The Carton Match, Tetra Pak strives to empower the younger generation as environmental advocates, fostering a sustainable future and promoting responsible recycling practices.

Looking ahead – children are the future

So far, The Carton Match has grown to involve over 320,000 participants ranging from pre-school to grade 6 across Sweden, Finland and Denmark. It has become the largest school competition in Sweden. In the coming years, Tetra Pak aims to engage more businesses and organisations to help children and families become advocates for recycling and circular economies1 in all three participating countries and beyond .

Kids collecting carton packages in a recycling bag

Image: Gathering cartons for recycling

1The circular economy refers to a system in which materials never become waste and are kept in circulation through processes including recycling, reuse and composting. It tackles environmental challenges by decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources. Source:, What is a circular economy?


Tetra Pak contacts