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Tetra Pak not popular with recyclers

2009-11-24 08:09 BJT

Tetra Pak is widely used around the world as an aseptic packaging, popular for its ability to keep food fresh. It can also be recycled, but in China this green benefit of Tetra Pak is largely ignored.

Tetra Pak is popular logo and widely used in China. Consumers chose it for fresh milk and juice, as it can keep liquids fresh longer than other packages.

But once they are empty, most consumers find these packages no longer useful.

"I normally throw it away I don't know it has other functions."

There is no sign on the pack to indicate its further value after being emptied. But the packages born in Sweden are designed to be 100-percent recyclable.

Last year 27 billion Tetra Paks were sold in China, but only 10-percent were recycled upon being emptied. In Germany, the recycling rate is eight times as high.

For waste-collectors like Chen, recycling Tetra Paks means lower profit. Chen has collected garbage in a Beijing residential community for six years -- Tetra Paks are his last choice.

"They are scattered randomly, and in a small number. It's difficult to collect them. And their profit is much lower than the coke cans."

From collection to transportation, each procedure to recycle a Tetra Pak results in a higher cost. This makes them unwelcome at recycling companies, which is the terminus of the recycling chain.

Feng Shulong, manager of Recycling Company, said, "These kind of packs take up space. They are empty inside, and need to be compressed. A truck can only transport 400 kilograms of Tetra Paks."

That means 100 yuan extra to transport a truck load of Tetra paks compared to the same load of coke cans and plastic bottles. Additional efforts, like packing also push up the purchasing price.

If they are not being recycled, Tetra Paks may contribute much to the degradation of the environment.

Editor: Zhang Ning | Source: