Would you ever buy wine in a Tetra Pak carton? Here’s 9 reasons you should consider it!

Filed in Blog by on May 28, 2014 10 Comments
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orange juice tetra pak carton

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:

long life milk tetra pak carton

And maybe you’ve bought tomatoes like this:

chopped tomatoes tetra pak carton

Sainsbury’s do an organic range of pulses such as chick peas, red kidney beans and lentils in Tetra Pak packaging:

red kidney beans tetra pak carton

But what about wine?

white wine tetra pak carton

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.

Automatic chilling!

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.

Space saving

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.

Light weight

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.

Less emissions

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…


jamie oliver wine tetra pak carton

What about you – can you recycle Tetra Pak cartons locally and would you make the switch for wine?

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 (10)

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  1. I’m not convinced about the recyclability of tetra-paks, particularly the ones that contain extra layers of metal mushed together with the paper and plastic. My understanding is that to recycle them, the cartons are soaked (probably not the right word, and I don’t know if it uses water or chemicals) and the plastic layer floats to the surface, and is skimmed off and landfilled. A lot of the info on the internet seems to be driven by Tetra Pak (the company) itself, which makes me dubious too – of course they want us to think their packaging is sustainable!

    Then there’s the issue of liquids sitting in plastic for long periods of time and chemicals leaching from it into the food..

    Personally, I will keep buying wine in glass and recycling it. What I’d love though, would be not to need packaging at all! Being able to buy wine by bringing my own bottles and refilling from a barrel like Bea from Zero Waste Home… wouldn’t that be great?!

  2. S. Strauch says:

    I think it’s a case of greenwashing. Nodbody really takes these packages apart, they are downcyled at its best. And by the way have watched the film “Plastic Planet” ? I’m sure you would prefer glass then.

  3. celine says:

    I think I’m tentaively convinced. I have a large family and we often get together at each others houses in the summer for bbqs and picnics;. There are lots of kids around and I think the idea of not having broken glass around would be really good. We’ve had several smashed bottles after curious fingers have got hold of them. Also I worry about the flies thing, so it’s perfect to be able to seal them back up. At the mment I try and find bottles with screw tops. Is it easy to find wine in these cartions?

  4. Sal says:

    This is brill – I’ve seen I can recycle them at two places nearbuy that I never knew before – one in a car park that I never go to and one in a sports club that I pass on my way to work. My bins now on a diet – Happy dance!

  5. Dan says:

    Hmmm I’m not convinced. Surely it’s better in the long term to buy in glass – bottles are recycled at most kerbsides so people will do it. Buying in a carton mignht mean people throw them away. Having said that i checked out the map and found somewhere fairly close to me so I now know what to do wtih cartons when i get them, which is great. But I do admit i try and buy in tins or glass where possible and use cartons as a last resort – the kids love juice tho’ and I’m happoy for them to take a small carton to school each day and now i know i can keep them to recycle.

  6. Ann Dennison says:

    Well …. tetrapacs may be recyclable in the U.K. but they certainly are not in New Zealand! I would not have thought it would be even be financially possible to separate the cardboard from the plastic from the metal foil in order to recycle each element. I stick with glass where I can, for drinks and don’t buy the rest.

  7. Jacqui K says:

    I never knew they could be recycled at all and I’ve been throwing them in the bin. A friend just told me there is a recycling place five miles away and I never knew – duh! I’ll be reducing waste now. Not sure about wine in a carton, I think I’ll stick to glass thanks 😀

  8. Philippa says:

    We can now recycle them kerbside but for ages it was just at specific banks. There are still people who don’t know what they are so won’t be recycling them! They are supposed to be very economical in their manufacture – making little waste and are easy to stack in the cupboard.

    They are easier to recycle if you flatten them and I’ve decided it is easier to flatten the empty ‘flappy’ ones by pulling the flaps up with the lid still on.

    I’ve also rather belatedly found out that full cartons (the ones with little plastic caps) pour better when the liquid has to fall the furthest.distance across the top of the pack when tipped and not the shortest distance. Am I the last person in the world to discover this? 🙂

    Living abroad we got used to wine boxes so don’t think I’ll have a problem with wine in them. I still prefer glass though!

  9. Philippa says:

    And of course glass bottles are REUSABLE which scores higher in my book!

  10. Philippa says:

    So lid on or lid off?

    I presume that since there is plastic surrounding the lid that it may as well be left on. Nowadays once flattening the flappy ones above I often cut the corner off to get the last of the drink out and then rinse the carton out and tip it up in the drying rack. Then when it goes out in in our kerbside collection and at Grandad’s to the supermarket recycling bank neither the car or recycler get wet!

    It would be good to have more information on what the Councils are doing and whether we are near to a countrywide decision on how to present some of this packaging yet.

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