Through its CAREton Project, Tetra Pak Malaysia is working to raise awareness of recycling – and help build better lives for local people.
The CAREton Project was launched in 2012, with the aim of building on Tetra Pak Malaysia’s existing work to promote recycling in partnership with our customer Nestlé. While the initial campaign focused on the environmental benefits, CAREton shows how recycling can help local communities too.
The project works by teaming up with community organisations and transforming used cartons into new products that directly support their work. “The message to consumers is that by caring for the planet they can care for people too,” says Environment Manager Manjula Murugesan.
In its first year, CAREton provided 10,000 exercise books and 100 pieces of school furniture made from recycled cartons to an educational organization supporting poor children in Malaysia’s cities. In 2013, it delivered 460 sections of recycled PolyAl roofing material, enough for 10 new houses, to EPIC Homes, a social enterprise that provides rural housing for indigenous Orang Asli people.
“Many Orang Asli villagers live in shacks or under tarpaulins,” explains Manjula. “EPIC Homes provides them with permanent homes – simple, modular buildings that are flexible and adaptable. EPIC works with village chiefs to identify families in need, and then with those families to design their own house, right down to the colour.
“In return, recipients are expected to help out not only with their own build, but also with future builds in their village. One of the villagers we’ve worked with on the project, Pak Achip, has helped build four more houses since moving into his own home in February.”
Usually, such projects would have a 12-month lifespan. But the partnership with EPIC Homes proved such a success that the team chose to continue working with them throughout 2014. The goal was to collect 5 million used beverage cartons, creating enough roof tiles for 15 new homes. In fact, 7.2 million cartons were collected, enabling us to donate almost 1000 roofing tiles, enough for 20 new homes.
The CAREton Project was given a further boost at the end of 2013 with a donation of €50,000 from the Tetra Pak board which enabled the building of five more new homes. Nestlé and Tetra Pak employees were invited to help build one of these houses in December 2014. Sales Engineer Processing Sehsen Lee was one of those taking part.
“When I saw the email invitation, I thought ‘Why not?’ It was a great opportunity to do something that would make a difference to people’s lives. And I knew it would help me to develop personally, and also to build stronger links with our customer.
“We spent three days on site, and for two of those days it rained so hard it was hard to walk through the mud. The conditions were pretty challenging. But I think we all felt we were doing much more than building a house – we were building a home. When Brian May, our Managing Director, handed over the keys to the family that was going to live in the house, there were tears. It’s an indescribable feeling.
“I would definitely do something like this again in the future. The opportunity to be able to do something good meant so much. All the tiredness and all the effort, it was so worthwhile. The team spirit was amazing, and it’s continued since the project ended. The group I worked with is still in contact, and talk to each other regularly. It’s really something that brings people together.”
Learn more about the CAREton project:
About Tetra Pak
Together with our customers we make food safe and available, everywhere. Since the start in 1951 we have taken pride in providing the best possible processing and packaging solutions for food.