Tetra Pak: Tech Innovations, Community Efforts Equally Crucial to Shaping a Sustainable Future.

Last week we were lucky enough to join an intimate roundtable discussion with Tetra Pak’s ASEAN director. John Jose, Marketing Director of Tetra Pak Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, and Indonesia, highlighted how food packaging plays a crucial role in providing Filipino families with added peace of mind. He was joined by Terrynz Tan, Tetra Pak Sustainability Director for ASEAN who shared insights on strengthening the circular economy in the Philippines.

Food safety and health are tightly intertwined. Consumers continue to be concerned not just about the nutritional content of what they eat but also if their food was handled and packed properly,” Jose explained.

As a leader in technology innovation, Tetra Pak continues to improve its product portfolio to help manufacturers solve today’s challenges across the full food value chain while creating a more sustainable future.

“At Tetra Pak, we recognise that making food systems sustainable requires a long-term focus. That is why we go beyond the needs of today. We take the lead in creating innovations that meet evolving consumer needs while reducing our products’ environmental footprint,” stated Jose.

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“In 2021, in the Philippines, over 361 million litres of food and beverages packed in Tetra Pak cartons​ reached Filipino consumers”.

Tetra Pak takes pride in developing food and beverage carton packages that protect both the nutritional value and the taste of the products inside. Through specialised aseptic technology, there is no need for preservatives to allow liquid food inside Tetra Pak packages to retain colour, texture, natural taste, and nutritional value for up to 12 months.  The aseptic process also ensures that everything in the production chain is commercially sterile, ensuring that the packaging materials and the product to be placed inside are free of harmful bacteria.

Offering a range of shapes, formats, and volumes, Tetra Pak’s aseptic carton packages also make distribution cost-efficient and convert products into a consumer-ready format. One of its in-demand packaging solutions is the Tetra Brik® Aseptic carton packages, which have a lean, rectangular shape. This packaging can be configured in more than a thousand ways to meet market needs. From 80 ml one-shot drinks to 2000 ml family packages, Tetra Brik® Aseptic carton packaging comes in different volumes.  It also offers different formats: Base, Edge, Mid, Slim, Square, Ultra, and Ultra Edge. Meanwhile, the Tetra Classic® Aseptic carton package’s unique tetrahedron shape offers opportunities for creative ideas that can help a brand stand out in the marketplace.  Suitable for juice drinks, milk, ice lollies, spreadable cheese and other viscous products, the Tetra Classic® Aseptic carton package comes in different volumes ranging from 65 ml to 200 ml.

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Likewise, all Tetra Pak aseptic carton packages are made of renewable materials and recyclable paperboard. Given its lower impact on nature, most food manufacturers and producers are already looking to paper-based packaging. Tetra Pak believes that carton packages are one of the best ways to feed the future sustainably. With their cartons composed of an average of 70 percent paperboard sourced from responsibly managed forests, the company is optimistic.

 “At Tetra Pak, we’re on a journey to deliver the world’s most sustainable food package made solely of responsibly sourced renewable or recycled materials,fully recyclable and carbon-neutral, and since 2018, we started to restructure our packaging portfolio innovation strategy around this,” said Jose.

Jose also said that 100% of the paperboard in Tetra Pak cartons packaged here in the region or imported and sold here come from FSCTM certified forests and other controlled sources.

Last April, Tetra Pak launched tethered caps on carton packages. As the cap is permanently attached to the package, tethered caps can help prevent litter. The plant-based options of tethered caps are made from polymers derived from responsibly-sourced sugarcane. This helps reduce the carbon footprint of the carton, augmenting the renewable content of the package. Moreover, most of Tetra Pak’s tethered caps were made with a reduced amount of plastic. This allowed the company to achieve a plastic content reduction of between 7 percent and 15 percent.

Another breakthrough in Tetra Pak’s sustainability journey is the testing of an innovative fibre-based barrier to replace the aluminium layer currently used in food carton packages. This initiative is in line with Tetra Pak’s purpose of designing for recycling.


Strengthening the local circular economy

Recognising the importance of empowered communities in achieving a sustainable future, Tetra Pak actively supports this in the Philippines. One way is by strengthening the local circular economy through strong collaborations with collection and recycling partners as well as consumers.

To implement its community recycling collection program, Tetra Pak continues to partner with social enterprise organisations including Basic Environmental Systems & Technologies (BEST), Green Antz, and the Plastic Flamingo (the Plaf). Through these partnerships, the number of recycling drop-off points all over Metro Manila has increased significantly.

In partnership with Nestle Philippines and DMCI Homes, Tetra Pak also launched a community awareness and carton collection campaign called ‘Project ReBins’. Encouraging consumers to drop off their used carton packages in recycling bins located in selected condominium communities, the campaign has helped repurpose close to 650,000 packs (6 Metric Tonnes) of used carton packages, reaching over 30,000 households since September 2020.

John Jose discussing with media how used beverage cartons can be upcycled Tetra Pak Media Roundable 9 Aug 2022 9

“We have been on this journey of educating and promoting recycling in the Philippines for decades. As a company that defines its sustainability strategy on the commitment to a low-carbon circular economy, we invest and work with partners to expand industrial recycling solutions for the benefit of the communities,” Tetra Pak Sustainability Director for ASEAN Terrynz Tan said.

One of Tetra Pak’s sustainability investments in the country is a recycling facility located in Bulacan, Rural Industrial Corporation. Together with Rural, Tetra Pak helps to raise the recycling capabilities in key cities in Luzon.

“Our chance of attaining a sustainable future will depend on how we protect our planet and people today. That is why sustainability efforts will always be part of our DNA.”

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While boosting sustainability efforts, Tetra Pak also carries out initiatives that help enrich the lives of Filipino children. Through the Child Nutrition program, Tetra Pak provides practical support in implementing and evaluating school feeding programs in the Philippines. To promote awareness of beverage carton recycling, the company also continues to implement its Care and Share School Program, an annual inter-school competition that aims to encourage students to properly dispose of used carton packages for recycling. Since its inception in 2005, the program has reached over 530,000 students across 211 school partners in the Greater Manila Area