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Research Proves Cartons Are The Most Sustainable Packaging Choice

nes the entire life cycle of each type of packaging – how it’s made, what it’s made of, how it’s filled, how it’s transported to the consumer, as well as how it’s ultimately disposed of. The report revealed that the biggest contributor to carbon emissions is the material and production of the packaging.”

Based on the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere per package of 1L fresh milk, the report found that carton packaging has a climate impact of 42 grams – more than 12 times less than glass packaging (520 grams), 5 times less than PET (221 grams) and less than half that of HDPE (93 grams).

Cartons performed the best compared to other forms of packaging because of their material efficiency (using less material), their space efficiency (they pack together much better) and their mass is mostly renewable plant fibre.

Pooch says cartons have the potential to become the world’s most sustainable food package. “They are mostly made of paper and cartons have a far smaller contribution to greenhouse gas emissions compared to other packaging types,” he says.

Sustainable food packaging can play a strong role in bringing about the harmony between protecting our planet’s ecosystem and meeting the human need for food. Today, the global food system accounts for 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Pooch says the F&B industry needs to start talking about minimising packaging impact from cradle-to-cradle if we are serious about sustainability.

“A focus on recycling is important, but recycling alone is not going to solve global warming. The source of packaging materials, and their manufacture and transportation, are all important factors. Ideally, food and beverage packaging should maximise the use of carbon neutral and renewable materials to reduce their impact on nature,” he says.

The full report and methodology is available on the Tetra Pak website and can be accessed here.

*Greenhouse gas reduction from the entire life cycle of packaging.


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