It all started in the 1940s, with the search for a better way to package milk.
Something that could protect what was inside—and the people who drank it—by keeping it safe and stable, even when refrigeration wasn’t available. Something efficient, with a minimized impact on the environment.
“Doing something that nobody else had done before is actually quite hard.”
What we set out to do had never been done, and it took a decade of development to create the first paper-based package that could do what we had in mind. Even the way we planned to fill it (and keep it safe, healthy, and free of bacteria in the process) presented a puzzle that eventually became one of our hallmarks.
Our aseptic cartons were considered one of the most important food innovations of the 20th century.
It was an enormous challenge. But it’s how we created the first Tetra Pak carton package, the distinctive tetrahedron-shaped packaging that inspired our name with its simple, efficient design.
For over half a century, we’ve been creating carton packaging that can safely and sustainably hold liquid food—including milk, of course—to meet the needs of hundreds of millions of people every day.
Today, we’re able to get food to people everywhere, protecting them by protecting what’s inside, with only minimal impact on our environment.
At Tetra Pak, we protect what’s good.
We still abide by our founding philosophy, the idea that packaging should save more—food and resources—than it costs. It's a way of thought that matters even more today than when we started
out—and one which will matter even more tomorrow.
All over the world, people are hard at work in small ways on the things that matter to all of us most, from the environment around us to the food that fuels us.
They’re changing how we raise, consume, and think about food, how we care for ourselves and our resources, and they’re sharing the kind of ideas that will change our future for the better.
They’re doing it at the grassroots, quietly and without fanfare.
We’re sharing their stories.
At Groundwork, we’re giving them the attention they deserve: yours. We’re sharing their stories so you can, too.
It’s just one small way you can make an impact. Because when it comes to innovation, inspiration, and changing the world, sometimes one good idea, shared, is all it takes.
Spread the word.
Know someone who’s doing their part to change our world from the ground up?
When Dr. Ruben Rausing invented a new way to package milk, he probably didn’t realize he’d just changed the world.
It didn’t take long to figure out that these cartons were perfect for packaging more than milk. Today, airtight, shelf-stable Tetra Pak® cartons are used around the world to keep juice, water, soup, olive oil, nutritional shakes, vegetables, and more safe and sound.
Tetra Pak cartons use multiple layers of materials to ensure nothing gets in or out of the package. The cartons are made mostly of paperboard, with thin layers of plastic and aluminum working together to keep light, oxygen, and bacteria out, meaning no contamination and no preservatives needed. Ever.
By protecting the integrity of the product, the carton preserves both the taste of the food and all the essential nutrients stored inside.
In fact, Tetra Pak cartons have a better package-to-product ratio than an egg. By using just the right amount of material, Tetra Pak can ensure maximum product protection while using minimal resources.
Protecting our environment, our food sources, and our natural resources is an essential part of preserving our shared future. That’s why Tetra Pak is committed to using renewable materials—natural resources that replenish over time—and meeting environmentally friendly manufacturing standards.
100% of the paperboard in Tetra Pak cartons is Forest Stewardship Council Chain of Custody certified, meaning all of it can be traced back to responsibly managed forests.
And after they’ve been recycled, the cartons can be turned into tissue, paper products, and green building materials.
“Who are you wearing?”
At the 2016 Met Gala, actress Emma Watson made headlines (and best-dressed lists) in a sleek monochrome gown woven entirely from yarn made of recycled plastic bottles.
Designed by Calvin Klein in collaboration with the Green Carpet Challenge, a platform that pairs high-profile designers with sustainability initiatives, the dress made a style statement—and even more importantly, a sustainability one.
The industry is in the midst of
As the stunning environmental impact of fast fashion in particular becomes clear, designers (and even mainstream brands) are exploring how to create stylish designs from an array of sustainably sourced or recycled materials.
In Australia, The Great Beyond uses hardy, fast-growing bamboo to create soft, durable basics with impressive environmental benefits, while Canadian handbag designer Matt & Nat uses renewable materials like cork and rubber for their all-vegan products.
In 2016, Adidas teamed up with Parley for the Oceans to create shoes made entirely of reclaimed and recycled yarns and filaments from ocean waste and deep-sea gillnets. That same year, H&M gave the world the first look at their Conscious Exclusive collection, which included the first-ever piece of eveningwear made with Bionic Yarn, a recycled polyester made from plastic shoreline waste.
H&M—at the heart of fast fashion itself—is also aiming to use more sustainable materials like recycled cotton or polyester and FSC-certified natural rubber and wood fibers. Its ultimate goal: using 100% organic cotton across the board by 2020.
Meet some of the fashion labels committed to protecting the environment with style.
Along with being vegan, Matt & Nat ensures ethical practices are in motion in all their factories.
Since 1993, Patagonia has pioneered the idea of producing fleece from recycled plastic bottles.
Ananas Anam uses pineapples to create “leather” goods from sneakers to handbags.
Veja uses sustainable materials to make eco-friendly shoes that don’t look like eco-friendly shoes.
Reformation takes an eco-friendly approach to fashion, making sustainability sexy and cool.
The Great Beyond ethically sources its organic bamboo fabric from Wujiang Tuoxin Fabric in China.
For fashion, green is the new black.
But it’s not just sustainable and recycled materials catching the eye of environmentally conscious designers. In recent years, a new form of upcycling has been making its debut on runways: food waste.
From shoes and purses to evening gowns, designers from around the world are discovering ingenious ways to turn fruits, vegetables, and food byproducts into desirable apparel and accessories.
Philippines-based Ananas Anam is turning pineapple leaf fibers into an environmentally friendly leather alternative called Piñatex. The process uses byproducts of pineapple harvest itself, so it takes no additional land, water, pesticides, or fertilizer beyond what’s already used to grow the pineapples in the first place. Compared to the energy-intensive leather industry, that’s a big deal, and partner brands like Camper and Puma have already taken note.
In the battle against waste, fashion is
putting itself on the front line.
In Italy, award-winning startup Orange Fiber is hard at work transforming the 700,000 tons of annual waste created by Sicily’s orange juice industry into silky, soft yarn. And in the UK, designer Rosalie McMillan is creating high-end jewellery with a clean aesthetic from materials derived from coffee grounds collected from London offices, which she dries, compresses, and contorts into bold, geometric shapes.
Sustainability is a good look.
By now, it’s clear that sustainable fashion isn’t a passing trend. From relatively small, unknown designers to big-name luxury brands and Hollywood stars, the industry is making great strides in raising global awareness.
And while cotton still dominates as the world’s most popular fiber (and uses over 2,000 gallons of water for a single pair of jeans), consumers are more conscious than ever about the items that fill their closets. They’re checking labels, purchasing high-value, lasting pieces, and buying clothes that matter.
Though sustainable fashion still remains a niche market, one thing is certain: the future is looking greener.