Tetra Pak’s carton equity

More than 60 per cent of consumers agree that glass packaging is better for the environment than other types of packaging. Tetra Pak believes this is erroneous as life cycle assessments (LCA) on carton indicate it is environmentally friendlier than glass.

Aseptic packs can be stored without the need for refrigeration or any preservatives for up to six months

LCA is a common method used to compare the total climate impact of different kinds of packaging. Climate impact varies between different types of glass packaging and carton packs.

Overall, these assessments show carton packaging is better for the environment. There are a number of reasons for this:

  • The weight of cartons, which are lighter than glass. This leads to cost saving when cartons are transported as they are made primarily of renewable materials, which glass packaging is not.
  • Carton pack production is a less energy intensive process than that of glass packaging. A recent LCA conducted by a non-profit ecological research institute, the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IFEU) indicates glass packaging had a climate impact about nine times higher than that of cartons.

The added benefits

Cartons are based on renewable resources and have less climate impact than traditional plastic, usually made from fossil materials. Their square shape allows more packs to be packed onto one vehicle, thereby reducing emissions from transportation.

Aseptic packs can be stored without the need for refrigeration or any preservatives for up to six months. These packs are also strong, resealable, stackable, light, durable and portable.

An aseptic pack has six layers protecting a product’s contents from light, oxygen, flavour loss and odour intake. All products in the pack are heated to over 135 °C from two to 15 seconds. This maximises the destruction of microorganisms while minimising the chemical changes in the product. The technology sterilises both the product and packaging materials using rapid heating and cooling techniques.

Owing to aseptic technology and package structure, carton packs protect food and drinks without the need for additives or preservatives. No harmful substances are released. When compared to transparent packaging, Tetra Pak says cartons offer better protection against light, which otherwise breaks down vitamins and other nutrients.