A package should save
more than it costs.

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.”

DR. RUBEN RAUSING
Founder of Tetra Pak

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.

Tetra Pak isn’t the only one protecting what’s good.

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?

Give our editors the heads up

These paperboard cartons
are a big deal.

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.

So how does it work?

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.

dimensional-carton

By protecting the integrity of the product, the carton preserves both the taste of the food and all the essential nutrients stored inside.

When it comes to packaging materials, these cartons keep it to a minimum.

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.

Cartons help protect more than just our foods.

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.

By using sustainably sourced, renewable materials, Tetra Pak cartons are protecting our foods, preserving our natural resources, and promoting environmentally conscious practices.

To learn more about cartons, click here.

Endangered Foods

The Underground Seed Vault That’s Saving Our Plants

A global trust is storing seeds in an underground vault to ensure their survival—and it’s already paying off.

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Too much of a good thing?
Sweet, seedless, pest-resistant: when it comes to plants, we like what we like, and we know how to get it.

Generations on generations of selective farming practices (and the rise of man-made climate change) have led to a lack of diversity, meaning fewer varieties of food—and that’s a problem.

When it comes to plants,
we know what we like, and
we know how to get it.

The more we rely on a few types of foods, the more dependent we become on them, and their fate. What if something were to happen to those few foods?

What happens when a food does go extinct?
Find out here.
Explore

Some organizations are working hard to make sure we never lose another plant, period.
All around the world, people are teaming up on projects to help ensure the survival of their (and our) native plants. The most prominent, and most dramatic, is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) is a giant underground storage facility located between Norway and the North Pole that houses seeds from all over the globe.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is even cooler than it sounds.
A joint effort between Norway’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Nordic Gene Resource Center, which handles day-to-day operations, and The Global Crop Trust, an organization dedicated to preserving the diversity of our foods, the SGSV opened in 2008 and currently holds over 860,000 seed samples that come from almost every country on the planet. An average seed sample contains about 500 individual seeds, meaning the vault already holds somewhere around 430 million seeds.

And they’re just getting started: it’s got room to hold up to 4.5 million samples, which would be about 2.25 billion total seeds.

What better place to keep
our future safe than a vault?

The vault was built almost 400 feet below an icy, rocky mountain range deep in the local Arctic permafrost, a natural refrigeration system that can keep the seeds alive and well even in the case of a complete power failure—
for almost 200 years.

To make sure those conditions don’t change, the vault is rarely opened; in fact, only two deposits are scheduled for this year.

But it’s what’s inside that really counts.
The 860,000 seed samples currently in the vault represent a staggering level of diversity. There are millions of seeds from popular crops like wheat, corn, and rice, but the vault is also home to more rare and diverse fare: one shipment of deposits in 2012 included the ancient amaranth grain loved by the Aztecs and Incas and a malting barley used in many craft beers.

Featured Exhibit

What in the World is in the Vault?

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault contains seeds from all over the world. Click on the foods below to see which countries deposited the seeds into the vault.

Source: NordGen

Asparagus

Germany is known for their white asparagus, and they hold several asparagus festivals held during the spring growing season from April to June.

Corn

Corn is the second most produced crop around the world, so you can see why so many countries are interested in its longevity.

Hibiscus

Hibiscus tea is extremely popular in northern Africa, where it is traditionally used as a toast for newlyweds in Egypt and Sudan.

Mint

About 90% of the mint oil produced from mint plants goes into candies or oral health products.

Rhubarb

Before it was ever eaten, rhubarb was used for medicinal purposes in China as early as 2700 BCE.

Strawberry

Despite what the name might suggest, strawberries aren’t actually berries–they belong to a group of fruits known as “accessory fruits,” which form their skin differently.

Blueberries

All 37,700 blueberry seeds in the fault were deposited by a single repository located in the United States.

Flax

Flax is one of humanity’s oldest mainstay crops, with domesticated production dating back to around 7,000 BCE.

Licorice

While licorice is found on every continent but Antarctica, only Austria and Germany have submitted licorice seeds into the vault.

Peanut

While they’re grown all over the world, China is the world’s largest producer of peanuts.

Rice

While the crop is a staple for a majority of the world’s population, more than 90% of the world’s rice is consumed in Asia.

Spinach

Spinach is a staple of the Western diet, but the plant actually originated in central and southwestern Asia.

It’s already paying dividends.
Despite being affectionately known as a “doomsday vault” (and looking a lot like a Bond villain lair), the SGSV isn’t just a worst-case proposition. It also acts as a failsafe for 1,700 smaller seed banks in the world.

This year, the Aleppo seed bank in Syria just made the first-ever withdrawal from the seed vault, which will allow them to replenish their supply of drought-resistant crops before returning the seeds to Svalbard for safekeeping.

It’s a combined effort that’s helping to protect our food sources and ensure their diversity for generations to come.

Because what better place to keep our future safe than a vault?

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We make food & beverage cartons that protect what's good by keeping the food inside them safe and sound. Recyclable and made with renewable materials, every single carton is part of our groundwork for a shared, healthier future.Learn more

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