Recycling Tetra Pak cartons: A resource from waste!

Tetra Pak cartons are popular used in the food industry for packaging different kinds of food and beverages. Food packaged in these cartons does not have to be refrigerated and stays fresh for a long time.

In the year 2013, 36000 tons of Tetra Pak cartons were sold in India. Bangalore alone saw the sale of 4000 tons of Tetra Pak cartons.
According to the Tetra Pak’s website, each Tetra Pak container is made of three materials: paperboard, aluminium and polyethylene — a type of plastic used to seal in liquid and keep outside moisture from getting inside the package. The majority of a Tetra Pak container’s composition is paperbo ard, which is a renewable material, but it is not as easily recyclable when fused to aluminium and plastic.
Tetra Pak manufacturers have focused on the design aspect of these cartons to ease the process of their recycling.
In India there are 2 recycling units

in Vapi, Gujarat and Thane, Maharashtra. Tetra Pak recycling plants soak the post-consumer Tetra Pak cartons in water to separate the plastic and aluminium from the paperboard. Once separated, each of the materials can be restructured to create new items, such as tissue napkins, toilet-rolls, recycled pens, printing paper, paper bags, , low-cost housing materials (roofing sheets) among others.

Many NGOs like Saahasfor example, with support of Tetra Pak India Pvt. Ltd focus on ways to collect and recycle post- consumer Tetra Pak cartons. They have introduced collection boxes in apartments, schools and corporate offices for collection of the same. In addition they have also linked up with various scrap dealers and waste retrievers to collect used Tetra Pak cartons. Moreover, they also collect factory waste from different corporates.
Saahas has post-consumer Tetra Pak collection boxes in several Reliance Fresh/Mart stores across Bangalore. Citizens can drop their used Tetra Pak cartons in these coll ection points from where they are collected
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for recycling.

In 2013 Saahas collected 336 tons of post-consumer Tetra Pak cartons. Diverted from landfills and dump yards, these cartons were then recycled.
Saahas also offers a range of 100% recycled paper products made from recycled Tetra Pak cartons.