At Tetra Pak®, we understand the importance of looking after our planet's resources. That's why we prefer to use materials that can be re-grown or reproduced. These materials are called renewable resources.

Protects what's good for you

These materials are called renewable resources.

If managed properly, renewable resources are those which can be used to supply our demand at a sustainable rate - so that those that are consumed are replaced, and we can carry on using them for years to come without running out.

Our cartons are made of around 73% wood fibre in the form of paperboard - a natural, renewable resource. Our ultimate goal is to be able to offer a fully renewable carton package for liquid food.

But that is not all. The timber used to produce our paperboard must be from responsibly managed forests or other controlled sources. Therefore, we also have an ambitious goal to have all the paperboard we source FSC certified and over 1 billion of our cartons in the UK & Ireland carry the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) label. To find out what we are doing globally to meet our renewability and sourcing goals, click here.

To find out more about the FSC, click here (opens in new window, requires Flash) and to see how managing a forest responsibly works in practice from beginning to end, have a look at our Virtual Forest here (opens in new window, requires Flash).

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Benefits of using renewable paperboard

If managed properly, renewable resources are those which can be used to supply our demand at a sustainable rate - so that those that are consumed are replaced, and we can carry on using them for years to come without running out.

Responsible forestry management has wider benefits too. Forests are home to a vast array of different animals, plants and people. Looking after forests properly protects biodiversity and preserves livelihoods. Not only that, the use of renewable paperboard, made using renewable energy helps make our cartons a low carbon packaging choice.

A Low Carbon Choice

Cartons are repeatedly shown to be a low carbon packaging choice in Life Cycle Studies across the world and one of the key reasons for this is its raw materials.

If you map out the environmental impact of a package throughout its life, you will tend to find that it is the raw materials that make the biggest share of the carbon impact of the package overall. The fact that Tetra Pak cartons are predominantly made from a renewable raw material - paperboard, which is also produced mainly using renewable energy, means that they start off life with a lower carbon impact than many other raw materials.

Whilst paperboard makes up around 73% of the pack, it only makes up around 28% of the carbon footprint of the raw materials needed to package. This means that the plastic (which is in all our packs) and aluminium (which is in make up over 70% the carbon impact of the raw materials, whist they only make up 27% of the pack. This means they are more carbon intensive materials. In fact, the aluminium, which makes up less than 4% of the pack, contributes around 50% of the carbon footprint of the raw materials.

This is why we continually work to reduce the amount of plastic and aluminium we use in the first place. For example, the layer of aluminium we use is only around 6 microns thick, less than that of a human hair. We are also investigating how to increase the share of renewable materials we use, and reduce our complete packaging footprint through research.

For the plastic, "bio-based polyethylene" (polymer from sugar cane) is now available for caps in various formats worldwide and for barrier polymers in Brazil we are also looking at renewable alternatives to aluminium. Furthermore Tetra Wide, a plastic used for the inner liner of our cartons, was rolled out across our whole portfolio allowing up to 30% less plastic to be used here.

We are also working to light-weight the plastic caps and offer an increasing range of renewable bio-caps for our cartons so that we offer easy to use openings, with carbon savings.

Preserving Biodiversity

Forests are often described as a melting-pot of biodiversity. With good forest management and protection, biodiversity can flourish.

This has clearly been demonstrated in the Nordic countries, where much of our paperboard comes from.

They are home to around 40,000 species of plants, animals and fungi. Whilst we have essentially lost them in the UK, the Nordic forests have still held on to four of Europe's large predators - the bear, wolf, wolverine and lynx - and their numbers are still increasing here.

Even moose populations have also benefited from forestry and hunting regulations, after facing immediate threat at the turn of the last century!

Preserving Livelihoods

Forests have acted as a home for a number of people and communities over the centuries. They have often existed in harmony with their surroundings for great lengths of time, living off the forest and its resources, whilst relying on sustainable resource use and the renewal of these resources to enable them to continue doing so.

Our paperboard comes from mills that are regularly situated quite close to these forests. The mills often act as a key employer for the local communities where they operate and can act as a contributor to their overall well being.

These communities are often small, and our paperboard producers are both major local employers and significant business partners for many other local enterprises.

Forests are also an important resource for tourism. They provide a natural environment for people to enjoy activities like hiking, camping, fishing and berry-picking.

Responsible sourcing

The timber used to produce our paperboard must be from responsibly managed forests or other controlled sources. Therefore, we also have an ambitious goal to have all the paperboard we source FSC certifiedTo find about our work to ensure that we source our paperboard and other raw materials as responsibly as possible, click here..

Increasing Renewable Content

So if around ¾ of our package is made from a renewable material, what about the rest of it?

As you can well imagine paper does not react well to liquids, so we use plastic to water-proof it and in the case of our long-life packs, we use a very thin layer of aluminium to keep oxygen away from the carton's contents.

This allows your milk, juice or food to be stored for up to or over a year, without the need for refrigeration or preservatives. Just imagine how much electricity that could save!

In a modern world however, people are demanding more openings, shapes and sizes on our cartons, this has generally meant more plastic and less paperboard.

To tackle this issue head on, we started to source renewable polymers of the production of our first polymer closures from bio-based sources in 2011. In 2012, 610 million of our cartons had bio-based caps. Our aim is to offer closures made from bio-based renewable sources across our full packaging range. How quickly this happens will depend mainly on the availability of polymers from renewable sources, which is currently very limited.

To find out more, about our work to increase the renewable content of our packs, click here.

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Raising Awareness

Despite how important choosing renewable resources are in helping us reduce our impact on the planet's natural resources, not enough people are aware of what they are or why they matter.

We are committed to helping people to understand this better. Just some of the work we have done to do this is outlined below.

On pack labelling

To ensure that people know that they are choosing cartons made by us and therefore cartons which meet the rigorous standards we set to protect the products in our cartons and the forests that our paperboard comes from, we work with our customers to put our Tetra Pak ‘Protects Whats Good' logo on pack and to label our packs with the FSC stamp of approval to show that the timber used to produce labelled cartons is from responsibly managed forests or other controlled sources. Currently in the UK and Ireland over 1 billion cartons are labelled with FSC logo each year.

The FSC license code of Tetra Pak is FSC C014047

FSC

FSC - The mark of responsible forestry