What is the announcement?

Brownes Dairy is launching Australia’s first unbleached fully renewable cartons for our 1L everyday fresh white milk range.

What is the difference between this carton versus the old one?

This carton is unbleached which is why it is brown.

This carton is also lighter, which means less packaging material is required to protect the same amount of nutritious milk, further enhancing the sustainability credentials of the carton.

It has also been recognised by Carbon Trust as being 16% lower carbon footprint when compared to standard cartons.

This carton continues to be made entirely from plant-based, renewable materials. Plant-based means it is derived from plants which is a renewable resource.

Why is Brownes Dairy using this particular carton for its range of fresh and flavoured dairy products?

We are a pioneering brand, committed to driving innovation in the marketplace. This intention is not limited to new product development, now extending to sustainability innovation. We share a common vision of innovation and environmental responsibility with Tetra Pak and will be the first company in Australia to adopt the unbleached plant-based version of Tetra Rex packaging solution.

What does ‘made from renewable resources’ mean?

Packaging made from renewable materials is essential for preserving the environment for future generations. Renewable resources can be replenished naturally over time and enable a move away from fossil fuel-based materials, reducing the environmental impact as well as improving resource efficiency. In this case, the renewable sources of the carton are Paperboard from sustainably managed forests, and the protective layers from sugar cane.

What is different with the Tetra Rex® Craft Plant-based carton?

Tetra Rex® Plant-Based carton is the world’s first fully renewable beverage carton from Tetra Pak, with the protective layers derived from sugar cane.

This carton is made entirely from plant-based, renewable materials.

Which products will Brownes Dairy be transitioning to the Tetra Rex Craft Plant-Based?

The packaging of all of our everyday white milk range (Full Cream, HiLo and Skim) products will be in Plant-based Board.

In order to avoid packaging waste, the changeover is a soft roll out from March 2022 onwards.

Have other companies launched the Tetra Rex Plant-based carton?

Across Australia and NZ, Brownes Dairy is the very first company to launch this unbleached fully renewable carton. Brownes Dairy is leading by example in this market, and we hope other companies will follow suit to find more sustainable ways of packaging their products.

How do I know whether the carton is made from plant-based materials?

Our renewable carton is marked plant-based at the top of the carton for easy identification. By marking the carton Plant-based, consumers can trust that the carton is fully made from raw, plant-based materials.  Both the wood fibres and sugarcane linings in the cartons are certified by FSC and Bonsucro respectively.

What is the difference between plant-based and fossil based PE?

The only difference is in its raw material. The fossil based PE is a polymer obtained from ethylene based on fossil oil derivative and plant-based PE is produced with ethylene obtained from ethanol sugar cane, a 100% renewable source. This means that plant-based PE captures CO2 from the atmosphere with the photosynthesis of sugar cane. In its final state, the plant-based and the petrochemical PE have the exactly same properties, techniques and appearance.

Does this mean that the new Tetra Rex® carton is now biodegradable?

No, none of the plastic in any of our cartons is bio-degradable for food protection and recycling reasons.

In Tetra Rex Plant-based cartons, the low-density polyethylene used to create the laminate film for the packaging material is derived from sugar cane. The Plant-Based plastics used are functionally identical to conventional plastic, the difference being that the ethanol used to is produced from sugar-cane rather than fossil fuel oils. Thus, the cartons remain as recyclable as before, not impacting existing recycling streams, and are not biodegradable.

Why is the packaging brown?

The paperboard with a brown surface is made from unbleached pulp. This paperboard has a better environmental profile due to its lower stiffness, the fewer production steps required and the less use of chemicals in the paperboard manufacturing. It also provides a better light barrier, which protects the taste and vitamins of the Milk.

How is the plant-based Tetra Rex® carton recycled?

It is recycled in the same way as a standard Tetra Pak® milk carton. Over 90% of Australians have access to Kerb Side recycling – facilitated through local councils. From here, all packaging formats are sorted into the appropriate ‘streams’ through MRF’s (Material Recovery Facilities).

I hear recycled cartons are sent overseas, is this true?

Tetra Pak are partnering with the government to introduce Australia’s first onshore liquid paper board recycling facility, based in NSW, later this year. It will accept both chilled milk cartons and also aseptic cartons used for products such as long life milk.

What else is Brownes Dairy doing to make their other packaging more sustainable?

We are always challenging our suppliers to help us with more sustainable solutions. This year we are working on improving the sustainability of our yoghurt packaging, by moving to an easier to recycle solution.

What about the Brownes Dairy yoghurt pouches?

There are unfortunately no pouches on the market that are recyclable via household recycle bins. This is because: a) a pouch is made up of several layers that would need to be separated, and  b) the majority of councils can’t accept soft plastic for recycling via their kerbside collection because soft plastic jams the automated sorting machines at the Materials Recovery Facility.

However, thanks to initiatives such as REDcycle, our pouches can be recycled by dropping them into a REDcycle bin at your nearest Coles and Woolworths. There is no need to cut off the spout or separate the lid. In fact, please secure the lid on the pouch so no yoghurt escapes.

The soft plastics recycled via REDcycle are used to make plastic furniture by Replas.  Find out more at redcycle.net.au.