Milk and juice cartons are made from a material called liquid paperboard (LPB), which is constructed from cardboard with layers of plastic, and in the case of long-life products, a thin layer of aluminium foil. Cardboard makes up the largest proportion of these materials - about 88% of Tetra Pak 1 litre fresh milk carton for example.
For more than 40 years LPB has been used to package a wide range of foods including milk, juices, cream, custard, detergents, sauces and soups.
About Liquidpaperboard Recycling:
- Over one billion milk and juice cartons are used each year in Australia
- The lightweight nature of cartons means they require less energy to transport and refrigerate than other beverage packaging.
- LPB is recycled back into paper products like cardboard boxes.
- Most councils in Australia collect LPB for recycling.
Source: Sustainability Victoria
There are two types of cartons
Gable top cartons
- Made from a layer of board sandwiched between two layers of very thin plastic.
- Some gable top cartons used for packaging fruit juice have an additional layer of foil and a third layer of plastic. These extra layers improve the shelf life and retain flavours.
- Aseptic bricks (UHT or long life packs) are a newer type of carton
- They are made from five layers: three of plastic, one of foil and one of board.
- The products in the cartons are sterilised before being packaged and, as the cartons fully seal the contents, they do not need to be refrigerated before opening. This results in savings in energy during storage and transport.