Cartons

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Overview

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Raw Material
Impact

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Production
Impact

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Distribution
Impact

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Household
use/year

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Recycling
Benefits

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Reuse
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Waste
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Recycling

  • Carton board is not only renewable but also fully recyclable and biodegradable, making it the most economically and ecologically balanced packaging material and a perfect example of the circular economy in action (Packaging Europe)

Tetra Pak Facts & Figures

The rise of Tetra Pak

  • Tetra Pak arrived in the 60’s.Made from novel hybrid material (paper, plastic and aluminium).
  • Tetra Pak cartons took off because, crucially, they were lighter and safer to use than glass.
  • By 1980, Tetra Pak was making over 30 billion drink containers per year around the world.
  • Source (Friends of the Earth)

What food cartons contain

  • There are two kinds of cartons, those that need refrigeration that don’t need aluminium foil liners (Non-Aseptic) and those that are for preserving that do (Aseptic). (The Ecologist)
  • The most common Tetra Pak is Aseptic.  It contains 74% paper, 22% polyethylene and 4% aluminium. On average, cartons contain 73% paperboard (Tetra Pak)
  • In 2010 Tetra Pak alone produced 140 billion units a year and that’s not counting all the cartons from rival makers like Elopak and SIG. (Friends of the Earth)

The Impact Of TetraPaks

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The Benefits & Costs of Recycling Tetra Paks

  • One big problem with Tetra Pak-type cartons was always that, although technically recyclable, there weren’t many places that could actually recycle them. This is because of their mix of bonded-together materials (Friends of the Earth)

Savings

Manufacturing 1 ton of plastic from recycled material saves approximately:

  • Slightly more than 1 ton of CO2 (New York Times)
  • 5,774 Kwh of energy (Less is More)
  • 16.3 barrels of oil (Less is More)
  • 98 million Btu’s of energy [ref 5].30 cubic yards of landfill space (Less is More)
  • 1.2kg of HDPE waste saves the production of 1kg virgin HDPE (WRAP)
  • For PET recycling, 1.3kg of waste PET saves 1kg of virgin PET (WRAP)
  • 1 ton of PET plastic containers made with recycled plastic conserves about 7,200 KWH (Stanford University)

Costs

  • Recycling plastic emits 5.4 tons of CO2 [calculation].

The Savings & Costs of Reusing Plastic

If the packaging is used 40 times the saving would be:

  • Virgin: 260 tonnes of CO2 – 40 x the emissions of virgin cost i.e 6.5 tonnes of CO2
  • Recycled: 217 tonnes of CO2 – 1 x virgin emissions + 39 x the emissions of recycling plastic i.e 5.4 tonnes of CO2
  • Reused: 6.5 tonnes of CO2 – Original cost of container

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