Tetra Pak is developing a paper straw for its portion-sized carton packages that the food processing and packaging solutions company expects will be ready to launch by the end of the year.
Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, Tetra Pak had nearly $14 billion net sales in 2017. The company’s packaging for liquids includes aseptic packages made from renewable materials and recyclable paperboard that doesn’t require refrigeration.
When Tetra Pak studied Millennials — a group that spends approximately $600 billion annually — they found that these consumers look for five key attributes when picking a single portioned package off the shelf. One is how easy it is for them to drink from the package, according to the white paper.
“Across the majority of global markets, a package that provides a resealable cap over a straw is very much in demand,” the company found. The push for a paper straw is as part of Tetra Pak’s broader effort to address plastic straw waste.
“It sounds simple enough,” Charles Brand, Tetra Pak’s executive vice president of product management and commercial operations said about the new straw. “But in reality, there are a number of significant challenges to producing a paper straw with the required properties.” Despite this, he is confident that they will have an alternative to plastic ready this year.
Tetra Pak says its packages are about 75% paperboard, so paper straws would represent an important step in the company’s goal to offer a completely renewable portfolio.
Elisabeth Comere, director of environment and government affairs for Tetra Pak, told Environmental Leader last fall that the company’s environmental management strategy aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development goals and encompasses the entire value chain.
“Tetra Pak has a preference for using resources that are not scarce, that can be regrown over time,” she said. “Paperboard is a good example because if you source the fiber from a responsibly managed forest, you are protecting that forest.”
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