mark_cornwell's profile

Thursday, March 30th, 2023 9:02 AM

Tetrapaks, sustainability and the planet

Hi, I was just making my porridge with some Oatly barrista milk and pondering the Tetrapak in my hand. I also had another Tetrapak out as my apple juice was in one.

I've gone and looked at their website for sustainability information and it says they're recyclable and so on. What I can't find there or on your site is: why use Tetrapak rather than say an old fashioned re-useable glass bottle? Given that there is a plastic/aluminium liner inside I'm intrigued to understand how it is more planet friendly than (say) a plastic bottle that can easily be recycled. Tetrapaks go either into wood pulp or building material. I've discovered my local council (Dorset) would mean it ended up as building material rather than landfill.

I'm curious about the carbon impact, the sustainability, and the planet impact of a Tetrapak.

It struck me as I was holding your Oatly pack that all the non-dairy milks are in Tetrapaks. None in glass bottles or plastic bottles.

Is that simply because they are cheaper, easier to fill and ship, less breakable...? Is it a PROFIT thing? OR is it because they are more recyclable, have a lower impact on the planet as a whole.

There are zero hits in your community forum for 'Tetrapak'.

Planet friendly or Profit friendly?

I guess you've done your research...

1 Message

1 year ago

aluminium is super recyclable! packaging is an industry problem, but using aluminium cans could be a problem with a clear solution rather than using tetrapak which is hard to recycle. imagine a can of oat milk with a PET lid on top! that sounds like a very cool solution to me!

3 Messages

Oat Drink in a can! Now THAT'S a cool idea.
I'll be passing this onto our Product Development team.

Interestingly, in the study I mentioned above (2020, Brock & Williams) they found that aluminium cans were the least impacting on the planet in the pressurised beverage packaging category. So, who knows what the future holds?

3 Messages

1 year ago

Hey Mark,


Pondering about sustainability is a great way to spend your time. We do it often, and it's nice to know we're not the only ones!


I can assure you that sustainability is at the forefront of what we do at Oatly. We believe in making foods that are good for people and for the planet. This means we are very deliberate about our decisions, whether that's manifests in what ingredients we choose for our del-oat-cious products, or the vessels that carry them.


TetraPak is recyclable in most of the markets we operate in, one of the many reasons we use this kind of packaging. To locate the best place for you to take your TetraPak in the UK you can go to this interactive map for more info. 


And while recycling at the end of a packaging's life cycle is important of course, much of a beverage packaging's climate impact comes from the materials and processes used to make it in the first place. A recent study which looked at UK beverage packaging from cradle to grave, showed that cartons have the lowest overall environmental impacts when compared to glass, 100% recycled glass and high-density polythene (HDPE) plastic in the milk beverage category (Brock & Williams, 2020). On top of this, there've been adaptations to our cartons, such as having the caps created with a bio-plastic made from plants, like sugar cane. This allows us to stay away from using petroleum-based plastics as much as possible. And all this doesn't even take into account how we're continually increasing the use of electric vehicles for transport where we can.


Right now TetraPak is the best options for us. We're constantly exploring and re-examining what the best options are. While we never claim to be perfect, it's always our mission to do better. So, thanks for keeping the pressure on!


Also, you can see more of our to-do list, as well as what we're already doing, with sustainability as a focus by checking out our Sustainability Page.

Aaron at Oatly