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.


Urban Agriculture: Growing Produce in a Metropolis

Reimagining farms in an urbanizing world.

Average distance produce travels:
1,550 mi
Proportion of the world living in urban areas by 2050:
People fed by urban & peri-urban farming:
700 million
Brought to you by:

Imagine you’re at a farm.
Look around. What do you see? Vast swaths of countryside? A red barn with a crowing rooster? Bales of hay next to a tractor?

Or…maybe JFK Airport.
OK, so you’re probably not picturing jet engines and landing strips. But maybe you should.

Finding new and innovative ways to grow food is rapidly becoming essential to our survival. In 1800, only 3% of the world’s population—about 30 million people—lived in “urban” areas. Today, around 37 million people live in Tokyo’s urban area alone. That’s 37 million mouths to feed, without much space to grow healthy foods.

As workers and businesses head further inwards around the world, it’s becoming harder for spacious, sprawling farms to produce and transport food to everyone that needs it.

On average, produce travels 1,550 miles from farm to table. That’s as far as a flight from Boston to Dallas.

Enter new ways to grow.
In 2015, GrowNYC partnered with JetBlue to build T5 Farm, a 24,000-square foot modular urban farm accessible to all passengers outside Terminal 5 at New York’s JFK airport. Comprised of 3,000 milk crates made with 100% recycled plastic, T5 produces over 1,000 pounds of potatoes and 2,000 fresh herbs per year.

The farm’s not just for show. The blue potatoes grown there head over to TERRA for processing, where they become TERRA chips. Everything else grown at T5 either gets donated through GrowNYC or used by businesses in the airport.

Local is the new global.
Leave T5 Farm to catch your flight, and there’s a good chance you’ll head somewhere else experimenting with urban farming:

  • Remember Tokyo’s 37 million mouths? Japanese recruitment firm Pasona started their in-house Pasona O2 farm as a way to provide agricultural training right in their downtown office, using sun-efficient LEDs and hydroponic methods to grow everything from fresh lettuce to Japanese pumpkins. Best of all, most of the food grown in the office finds its way to the in-office cafeteria.
  • GrowUp Box in London “upcycles” old shipping containers and turns them into affordable aquaponic farms.
  • In São Paolo, Brazil, where farmland is scarce, the Deu Horta Na Telha project turns long rooftops upside down, creating V-shaped troughs ideal for farming that can be installed virtually anywhere.

Urban farming’s going underground, too. Take a look at The Lowline project, hitting Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 2021. Explore ->

T5 isn’t the only sustainable show in town.
Edenworks, which set up shop in Brooklyn in 2013, uses a technique called aquaponics. If you’ve ever had a fish tank, you know you have to clean it regularly. But with aquaponic farming, bacteria turns fish waste into nitrogen. Plants then absorb that in the growing process, which cleans the water. It’s one big, happy, sustainable circle.

If the only benefit to urban farming
was delicious food, it’d still be worthwhile.
But that’s only the tip of the stem.

Beyond the plate.
Not only does reducing the travel time between food and plate lessen our carbon footprint and agricultural waste, but more vegetation in urban areas can actually counter the warming effects of climate change. Evidence also links an increase in urban farming to a reduction in crime, and more opportunities for nutritional education means a smarter—and healthier—population.

Plus, there’s hope that unique farms like T5 and The Lowline will draw locals and tourists alike, both for the unique spectacle of an innovative farm and towards better, smarter methods of food production.

Think back to your hypothetical farm. What do you see now?

Photos courtesy of JetBlue T5 Farm

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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