We had a very nice lunch at my mother’s house on the weekend. We had some Fresh Up juice. Since watching a documentary last year I always notice when there is a little cardboard box drink in the room. I notice because they are very hard to recycle, but there are an awful lot of them,
Using plastic and aluminium-coated paperboard to package sterilised liquid contents such as pasteurised milk, soups and even wine, Tetra Pak packages can be found in just about every corner of the planet.
Last year alone, Tetra Pak produced 137 billion drinks cartons (4,344 packages each second), which amounts to roughly 92.5 million treetops destined to be ground into paper and pulp.
Tetra-Pak is making an effort to source its trees from sustainable sources. It’s also making an effort to find ways to separate all the different parts of these packages so they can be recycled. Unfortunately they haven’t achieved this yet. In 2008 16% of Tetra Paks 137 billion cartons were recycled. In previous years this would have been 0%. Which is hundreds of billions of juice boxes thrown into the Earth.
When I picked up the juice box however I noticed that Fresh Up were trying to suggest that I could dispose of their product by making it flat really easy, as if making it flat achieved something for the environment.
In New Zealand we’ve been tossing Fresh Up and Just Juice boxes in the Earth since 1981.
I decided to investigate further.
I turns out that TetraPak (they’re Swedish) have actually being doing a lot of work on being greener, and have gone a long way to source sustainable forests, and develop processes that can recycle their products. So far in New Zealand you can only really recycle Tetra Paks in Auckland, but I imagine it might not be too far away for Wellington.
Turning the box over I noticed this.
I have seen this “Made in New Zealand from local and imported ingredients” on many products. It’s really a bit of a nonsense. People who produce food and beverages do this because:
Country of origin labelling is voluntary in New Zealand and suppliers (usually manufacturers, transporters or sellers) may choose not to display these details. But they must have contact details for distributors or manufacturers in New Zealand, so you can ask about the food.
Ok, fine, finding out where the stuff I eat and drink actually comes from is up to me to find out. I sent an email to Frucor (they make Fresh Up). Where is the fruit from, and how are you getting along with the recycling thing?
Here is the what they said about fruit (turns out my new thing this year is emailing companies):
There was also this about TetraPak,
Loyalty to the brand is probably a bit strong, but I’ll pass on their thanks to my mother.
“They” are able to recycle juice boxes in Auckland, but I am not.
Three things occur to me out of this:
- The TetraPak story is pretty interesting, and I was glad to see how much effort they have put in to cleaning up their products. Perhaps an email to the Wellington City Council is required to ask when we will get TetraPak recycling here
- Making juice is complicated. TetraPak is a massive MASSIVE company and we probably get our ones made in Australia. The fruit that goes into the TetraPak comes from all over. Parts of New Zealand, but also all over the world. These two facts alone make juice complicated, never mind all the other things that go in, and the packaging and the marketing and so on. Juice seems like quite an intensive product. All that shipping and importing of products from around the world seems like a lot of carbon for a refreshing drink.
- I think that emailing companies is a good thing to do if you are feeling lonely and need some friendly messages in your inbox. Much cheaper that calling a sex hotline, or freephone astral readings, or the emergency services for a chat.
Better send an email to the council.