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.
Residents of New York City will soon be able to soak up some sun, wiggle their toes in the grass, and eat locally grown pineapple—all underground.
Strawberries in the subway?
In a long-abandoned trolley terminal beneath Delancey Street in Lower Manhattan, an ambitious, almost futuristic undertaking is underway. The brainchild of New Yorkers James Ramsey and Dan Barasch, the Lowline is a one-acre subterranean plot designed to provide New York City with a slice of green space and a fully functional source of sustainably grown fruits and vegetables.
The whole idea of an underground park hinges on some pretty serious tech: the remote skylight. The remote skylight uses a set of precision optics to concentrate natural sunlight and funnel it underground through a complex plumbing system (while filtering out harmful UV rays in the process).
Then, using dome-shaped reflectors, the light is spread back out for people and plants to enjoy. As long as it’s sunny out, no electricity is needed to light the space.
An underground park sounds like
science fiction, but the Lowline Lab has
already proven it’s possible.
A fertile testing ground.
To prove the project’s tech and feasibility, the temporary Lowline Lab first opened its doors in 2015. What started as a warehouse with painted windows in Manhattan’s Lower East Side can now grow over 3,500 types of plants, ranging from kitchen staples like berries and herbs to tropical fruits like pineapples and coconuts.
And if it worked there, inventor James Ramsey reasoned, it could work not only in the actual Lowline, but also “nearly anywhere, especially into unexpected places—basements, offices, schools, jails, hospitals, and maybe even a moon base.”
See how the technology behind the Lowline could change the future of public parks in cities everywhere.
From far-fetched to food source.
The Lab was so effective at proving the project’s potential that in July 2016, New York City officially gave the Lowline project the green light to begin building in the abandoned trolley terminal. When the Lowline Lab’s successful test mission ended in early 2017, the team immediately turned its sights to the Lowline, expected to open in 2021.
“Our cities are expanding at an unprecedented rate, and it’s important that we…make them as livable as possible.”
Creativity in the era of the mega-city.
We’re currently experiencing a massive shift toward city living: by 2030, some estimate that the world will have 41 “mega-cities” (cities with populations of over 10 million). With this trend, the need for food begins to drastically exceed the supply capabilities of local sources, and energy consumption skyrockets.
When space and food production become scarce, the renovation of urban spaces through sustainable projects like the Lowline will be increasingly vital. New York City, as densely packed and populated as it is, still has over 7,300 acres of unused space that could one day be a greenhouse, a garden, or just a grassy walking path.
But with the tech behind the Lowline, we can soon start making the most out of every inch of our cities.