A new breakthrough has been reached in the world of beverage cartons. Following Tetra Pak's announcement last October of the launch of the industry's first carton made entirely from plant-based, renewable packaging materials, Finnish dairy producer, Valio, has now become the first company in the world to sell products to consumers in the new packaging. The new cartons are available from retail stores in Finland starting this week.
The package, Tetra Rex Bio-based, is manufactured solely from a combination of plastics derived from plants and paperboard. The low-density polyethylene used to create the laminate film for the packaging material and the neck of the opening, together with the high-density polyethylene used for the cap of the Tetra Rex Bio-based cartons, are all derived from sugarcane. The material was developed in partnership with Braskem, one of the world's leading biopolymers producers. These plastics, like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paperboard, are traceable to their origins.
The new carton marks a world first. "It signals an important milestone in Tetra Pak's long-stated commitment to drive ever-stronger environmental performance across all parts of its portfolio and operations," says Tetra Pak in a press release.
Valio will trial the package with Valio Eila lactose free semi-skimmed milk drink in retail outlets across Finland until mid March, and will then use feedback from consumers to decide whether to adopt the cartons more broadly across its chilled product range.
"Valio is committed to increasing the share of renewable resources in its packaging material," says Elli Siltala, marketing director at Valio. "We are proud to be the first in the world to make our products available in a fully renewable carton package."
The products will be available in one-liter capacity Tetra Rex Bio-based packages, with a TwistCap OSO 34 opening. They will be produced at Valio's Jyväskylä dairy in Finland, using a standard Tetra Pak TR/28 filling machine.
Charles Brand, executive vice president of product management & commercial operations for Tetra Pak, is thrilled to finally see packaging on the shelves. "We have been gradually increasing the use of renewable materials in our packages over the years, and that work will continue, as we look for ways to extend the fully-renewable concept to other parts of our portfolio without compromising safety, quality or functionality," he said.
The Tetra Rex fully renewable package can be identified by the words "bio-based" printed on the gable of the package. â€‹