What do fruit juice, milk, breakfast drinks, tomatoes, chickpeas and wine have in common?
They’re all available in Tetra Pak cartons.
When I joyfully reveal this to my friends, most of them shuffle around uncomfortably in their seats and whisper quietly “Ummm, what’s a Tetra Pak carton?”
The quick description that usually gets a nod of recognition is, “they’re the cartons you buy fruit juice in.”
But the times they are a changing and it’s no longer just the long-life orange juice which I grew up with in the 70′s that is packaged in Tetra Pak cartons.
I bet most of you have a standby carton of long-life milk in the cupboard:
And maybe you’ve bought tomatoes like this:
Sainsbury’s do an organic range of pulses such as chick peas, red kidney beans and lentils in Tetra Pak packaging:
But what about wine?
When I mentioned the idea of wine in a carton to Mr Green he wrinkled his aristocratic nose and suggested he wouldn’t want such a thing lowering the tone of the Sunday dining table.
But when we started to research we discovered some pretty impressive stuff.
It appears cartons provide a convenient, safe and environmentally-friendly alternative to glass bottles.
Quality of wine
The special layers in cartons means they protect the quality and taste of the wine for longer, by preventing external sources of contamination like oxygen and UV light.
White wines have a particular advantage in that, once chilled, the insulating properties of carton board keep the wine cooler for longer.
Cartons are safer than glass because they are shatter proof. If you’re off to a festival or barbecue where there are kids or animals around, none of us want broken glass on our conscience (or in anyone’s feet).
Ever had wine left over? No, nor us.
But perhaps you’ve had a wasp in your picnic wine bottle. You can easily reseal a Tetra Pak carton to keep the flies and wasps out.
How many glass wine bottles can you store for recycling? Once you’ve rinsed your Tetra Pak, you can flatten it to one sixth of its original size. And I know which I’d rather have to lug to the recycling centre.
At 33 grams, a 75cl carton is over 90% lighter than the equivalent glass bottle, meaning that packing 1 million litres of wine in cartons can save over 436 tonnes of packaging material.
Cartons are highly transport efficient – to fill 1 million litres of wine, delivering carton packaging materials rather than traditional bottles would remove 65 trucks from the road, a saving of 13,556 Kg of CO2.
But what about recycling? Glass gets picked up at our kerbside and is widely recyclable across the country at bring banks.
As a composite product, surely cartons are as difficult to recycle as crisp packets, confectionery bars and cat food pouches?
Well Tetra Pak are on a mission. A Mrs Green style of mission in which recycling domination is achieved!
At the moment a whopping 91% of local authorities offer carton recycling, while 57% of the total of local authorities collect cartons from peoples homes at the kerbside.
Don’t believe me? Click here or on the map below to find your local Tetra Pak recycling facility:
To promote the launch of this new interactive recycling map and remind householders about the environmental benefits of cartons, Tetra Pak have been running a rather exciting competition with Mumsnet. Click here to take a look for yourself.
If it’s good enough for Jamie…
And if that doesn’t convince you, apparently Jamie Oliver uses wine in Tetra Pak cartons in his restaurants around the country…
Now whether or not I’ve convinced Mr Green to give it a go this Sunday, I’m not yet sure.
But as I’m the one who orders the shopping I might be about to follow Jamie Oliver’s example…
What about you – can you recycle Tetra Pak cartons locally and would you make the switch for wine?
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