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.”

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.


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.


The New Wave: Packaging Today’s Water

Changing the way we drink.

Suggested daily water intake:
90-125 oz.
Size of the global packaged water market:
~400 billion liters
Carbon emissions from JUST water packs:
~74% less than PET bottles
Brought to you by:

We drink a lot of water.
Sure, that might sound silly. Of course we do! But we’re drinking only water—not soda, not juice, not sports drinks—like never before. People drank more bottled water than soft drinks for the first time ever in 2016, and it’s a trend, not a blip.

That’s not to say it’s all new.
Bottled water is actually older than the United States, starting in Boston as early as 1767 and really taking off with glass bottles in the mid-1850s. After a downturn in the early twentieth century, bottled water took off after a successful 1977 campaign by imported water supplier Perrier. As the craze caught on, plastic water bottles—both cheaper and easier to produce than glass—became the norm.

It’s clear that we’ve always loved drinking clean, healthy water on the go. Just never quite like this.

Our bodies are just the beginning.
With the world of water consumption getting as vast as, well, the ocean, more and more companies are emerging that change the way we get our water, so we can continue to get our on-the-go H2O for generations to come.

And for the youngest generation? Some kids need a little something extra, without the sugar that comes in many kids’ beverages. To meet that growing demand, prominent water packagers like RETHINK Water and Wonder+Well are producing organic calorie-free, sugar-free, and sodium-free flavored water just for kids.

Think inside the box.
The world has only so many resources, and it’s important to use as many renewable ones as possible. That’s why some companies have begun packaging their water in paperboard-based cartons.

Paperboard, a renewable resource derived from trees, has a low carbon footprint compared to traditional packaging options, but is just as functional and recyclable as the available alternatives. Companies like Just water, Flow Water, and RETHINK Water all produce water that’s packaged in cartons made from 70% renewable materials on average, and have committed to reducing their carbon footprint to combat climate change.

More and more to unpack.
The best part about committing to sustainability? Once you start, you just can’t stop. A few examples of the kinds of things these companies are doing to reduce their carbon footprint:

  • RETHINK Water sources its water from local markets and purifies them with a seven-step process.
  • FLOW Water and JUST water use plant-based plastic bottle caps derived from sugarcane, which doesn’t require much space and absorbs CO2 from the air as it grows.

Featured Exhibit

Same Water, New Package

Everything’s changed about water except the water.

Yes, You Can(teen)

As hard as it is to believe, there was a time before bottled water. In pre-industrial times, gourds were used as portable canteens.

Bring On The Glass

Glass bottles became the norm in the 1850s, but really took off with Perrier’s 1977 campaign, widely regarded as one of the most successful campaigns ever.

Plastic Takes Over

Cheaper and easier to produce than glass, plastic bottles rapidly became the norm.

Cartons: Stay Sustainable

Paperboard cartons use renewable resources like wood fiber and sugarcane, limiting their carbon footprint.

Next up?

Gelatinous, bubble-like water packaging you can pop in your mouth and eat? They may be closer than you think.

Sustainable packaging isn’t just good for the environment—it’s also what people want.

The tide is changing.
We’re more concerned than ever about the environment. 73% of millennials say they’d pay more for sustainable brands, and 53% of all consumers say they’d pony up for a sustainably packaged product. That means there’s an opportunity for all of us—companies and consumers alike—to shift the way we think about what we drink.

As long as we’re around, we’ll always need water. Even as our consumption methods have changed, the world’s oldest resource remains the same. Whether it’s plant-based water packs, futuristic gel bubbles, or something we haven’t even conceived of yet, we’ll need to keep finding sustainable ways to get our sips.


Brought to you by 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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