Tetra Pak Sustainability update 2012


Doubling our recycling rates globally by 2020 means investing in technology and in partnerships with local communities.

Slim waste

Foot to the floor

Smarter solutions for carton recycling are part of expanding our business and protecting our brand.

For reasons of food safety and package stiffness, Tetra Pak cartons are made from virgin paperboard. After use, that paperboard can be recycled into paper products like packaging and tissue paper, and the plastic and aluminium lining can be recovered to make composite products like roof tiles, or converted into paraffinic oils and aluminium powders for industrial use.

We want to double the global recycling rate of our cartons from 20% in 2010 to 40% by 2020. In 2011 we reached 21.6% at the global level. Local experiences in countries like China, where the recycling rate has leapt from zero in 2002 to 15.6% in 2011, give us hope that we will reach our goals. In China’s case, the improvement was achieved despite the absence of recycling legislation.

Communal effort

Beyond designing for greater recyclability, we promote recycling in several ways. These include investing in technologies that boost the economic return, and working with partners to set up collection infrastructure and raise consumer awareness.

A key challenge is to aggressively promote sustainable and economical recycling methods that reduce collection costs and generate higher commodity value.

In Europe, some regulated and mandated take-back schemes are already achieving 65% recycling rates. In China, Vietnam, India and Brazil, we form partnerships to develop community recycling infrastructure, improve safety and find commodity buyers for waste collectors. As a result, the number of cartons recycled around the world has grown from 10 to 36 billion in 10 years. Our global 2020 target is to double recycling rates. That will mean recycling three times as many cartons as we did in 2010, based on the expected growth rate.

Recycling part of manager evaluation

Our country managers are absolutely key to realising this goal and our local companies need to find the most effective approach for their respective markets. To drive progress, recycling rates and greenhouse gas targets now make up 8% of our managers’ annual performance evaluation.


More information


Number of recycled
Tetra Pak packages

Paper dragon

China is well known for impressive economic growth. Now, high carton sales are translating into booming recycling rates and increased volumes of recycled material.

Squaring the circle for cartons

Barcelona recycling plant is reusing cartons in a way that’s both climate-smart and economically smart.