Waste Encyclopedia

Tetra Pak

What is Tetra Pak?

Tetra Pak is the name of the company which created hygienically, lightweight packaging for liquids. They first became famous with their tetrahedron shape packaging which was then used for milk to replace glass bottles. Tetra Pak is now used for many other foods and drinks and is easily identified by the fact that it looks like cardboard packaging but in fact has a silver inside lining and contains liquids. It is a terrible waste because it is composite.

Why are there no recycling for Tetra Pak in Switzerland?

At the moment it is more expensive to recycle beverage cartons than the profit the recycled material generates: it is therefore not profitable to recycling Tetra Pak in Switzerland. Tetra Pak is typically made of 74% paper, 22% plastic (polyethylene) and 4% aluminum. The main way to recycle Tetra Pak is to blend it in an industrial blender with water. Paper is then easily separated by float and sink separation and can be recycled into paper. However, the other product of this process is a mix of aluminum and plastic which is impossible to separate industrially, and composite waste has no recycling value.

However, there are solution to create value out of this composite product, just not in Switzerland.

So, what can I do with my Tetra Pak?

Well not much. ALDI has decided to invest in recycling Tetra Pak. Thus, it is possible to bring back your cartons at ALDI. Otherwise, it must be thrown out in the domestic waste, but you can make your disposal as efficient as possible by minimizing the space it will take in your garbage bag and minimizing the risks of puncture. Fetch your inner child and follow the steps described on the left.

Tetra Pak