How to recycle Tetrapak at home?
Millions of families buy packaging at TETRAPAK every day. At first glance it looks like a simple cardboard, but it contains a very thin film of aluminum in the middle of several layers of plastic and cardboard.
The tetrapak or tetra-brik are regularly rectangular containers, they are shock resistant and have existed since 1963. It allows a product to be transported at 95% of the total weight, saving storage space and has the advantage of preserving the original taste and nutritional value of the packaged foods.
These containers are made up of 75% cardboard, 20% low-density polyethylene and 5% aluminum, and each of these materials are perfectly recyclable. Each tetrapak container that we deposit in the trash takes an average of 35 years to degrade and it is estimated that up to 60 million of these wrappers are produced each year in Mexico City alone.
As a consequence, most of the approximately 140 billion Tetra Packs that are used around the world are thrown away as common waste and end up in landfills, adding nothing to the economy and wasting raw material.
In our country in 2011 3% of Tetrapak's containers were recycled, a figure that can increase with our help. From the paper that is extracted from the containers, toilet paper, kitchen towels, kraft-type paper will be manufactured, from which bags or egg cartons are made among others and with aluminum and polyethylene sheets will be manufactured that will be used for the elaboration of tiles for the roofs of buildings.
It is important that our help with this recycling starts from home. In other words, we can separate this type of packaging.
How to separate it?
- Drain the liquid leftovers from the container
- Rinse the container
- Drain or let dry
- Compact the container (flatten it or fully open one side of the container)
- Tie or bag containers
- Place in storage for later collection.
And where do I deposit the tetrapak?
There are private companies that are dedicated to transforming the Tetrapak and reusing it. In many cases they have been in charge of processing the containers that never went on the market, however now they are also dedicated to giving a new life to those that we discard. A good alternative for those who live in Quito is to take these containers to the Hermano Miguel foundation. There is a group of volunteers there who collects these materials.