I say Tetra Pak, you say beverage carton

Filed in Blog by on June 14, 2010 6 Comments
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Tetra pak cartons

Tetra pak cartons

Time to clear up some confusion about recycling Tetra pak cartons.

One of our readers wrote to me and asked about cartons that look like Tetra Pak, but don’t carry the Tetra Pak logo. These particular cartons said to recycle them as a beverage carton but she didn’t know how to recycle them in her area.

The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment  (ACE UK) represents the UK’s leading beverage carton packaging manufacturer. Most of the bring banks across the country are paid for by the the three member companies (Tetra Pak, SIG Combibloc and Elopak). This means that any cartons made by Tetra Pak, SIG Combibloc or Elopak logo can be put inside them for recycling.

The easiest way to find out what sort of carton you have is to look for the logos they have on them.

If you see one of these, you can put it in any carton recycling bank:

logos found on tetra pak cartons

logos found on tetra pak cartons

After realising this information I went checking through my fridge to see what I could find. The Provamel soy milk and Hibiscus juice had the Tetra Pak logo. The Morrisons juice, which has a happy, smiley face telling me I can recycle it didn’t have a logo at all so I contacted Sam at Tetra Pak for further clarification. What are we supposed to do with cartons which have no logo at all?

Cartons without any of these three logos do not pay into the recycling scheme or the costs of transport to the the mill. Companies such as Italpak for example, illustrate recycling on their site but do not have any service provision for it . However, ACE members believe in the greater good of people buying renewable cartons and do not want people to question carton recyclability by having to choose which ones can or cannot go into the recycling bin.  You can see how seriously they take sustainability and recycling at their Tetra Pak Recycling website.

So the bottom line is, ANY food or beverage carton based on the Tetra Pak styling can go in to your local bring bank. Good news!

Have you got a burning question about recycling? Ask away and I’ll see if I can find out for you.


About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (6)

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  1. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    I choose TetraPak logo’d cartons only to support their sustainable attitude and the Zero Waste outcome for consumers, though it is good to see other large users are accepted. Buying only these cartons allows the consumer to promote best practice. The penny should drop for other card packaged types and for the plastic bottle industry whose aluminium/plastic seals and paper/plastic labels are less recyclable and messy to remove for the latter.

    TetraPak should move into the drug industry packaging sector whose blister packs are mainly waste. This would have the same effect as in the food sector.

  2. Ben says:

    Good to know that all the card tetra pak type containers are accepted, but I’m curious about the seemingly similar material packaging used to make some ice cream and yoghurt tubs? It seems to be thick card with a layer of very thin plastic film, like the drinks cartons. I’m wondering if these can go in the recycling with them? The cartons I’ve found in my fridge have the SIG logo on them.

  3. Jane says:

    “Food and Drink Cartons (Tetra-Pak style) eg juice, soup and milk cartons. Please rinse and flatten.”
    is how I’ve seen them well described in one Council list of what can go in the recycling box.

    Another Council who won’t take them just says that they don’t take Tetra-Paks – and this Council I see getting them regularly – but I can’t do anything about it because I am still unable to get a clear up to date recycling list out of them for the property concerned and it is not on their website.

    Tetra-Pak is a big brand name for this kind of packaging but not the only one just as there are big brand names for vacuum cleaners. Many of us will say we are going to “hoover” the carpet rather than vacuum or vacuum clean it from the days when there was not such a huge choice of different brands of vacuum cleaner.

    I urge anyone who is not clear exactly what their Council’s recycling facilities are to contact them and tell them that they don’t understand exactly what they can recycle and ask them to put a clear downloadable list on their website. If you are not sure then you won’t be the only one. Stand up and be counted!

  4. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane: Hi John, what a brilliant idea to look at medication packaging; i know many of our readers struggle with this issue.

    @Ben: Ben, I too have seen similar packaging, for example, the Pringles Tubs. I am told by Tetra pak that these cannot go into the tetra pak recycling banks because although they seem to be the same to our untrained eyes, there are some differences in the composition of these packages.

  5. flo says:

    Re: pringles tube recycling
    What I do is separate them into their parts its a quick and easy. Saw off the metal end with a kitchen knife and put that in with cans, strip the foil from the inside of the cardboard tube (its a lot easier than it sounds and usually comes away in one go) that bit has to go in the bin, the tube goes in with card and finally the plastic lid can be recycled if available in your area. Simples!!!

  6. Philippa says:

    I returned to using Bird’s Custard in a similar tub to the Pringles one as a friend who regularly visits Grandad has a gluten intolerance and is only happen with that brand. I do exactly the same as flo above OR reuse the tub. They make good small biscuit barrels!

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