Jersey Dairy’s milk cartons have taken on a totally new look since the launch of their ‘brown cow’ fresh milk carton in 2020. The milk cartons are manufactured by Tetra Pak, and the new Tetra Rex® Plant-based cartons are made with renewable materials, and are Carbon Trust certified – the paper coming from Forest Stewardship Council certified forests and other controlled woods, and the inner layers made from sugarcane, instead of fossil material, reducing carbon emissions by 22%.
All of the new cartons wear their Carbon Trust logo with pride and each carton states, “The Carbon Trust certifies that Tetra Pak has reduced the carbon footprint of this package by 22% using plastics made from sugar cane.” The new pack’s plant based material, from sustainable sources contributes to lower carbon emissions, something which Jersey Dairy is proud to promote.
Recycling in Jersey
These Tetra Pak cartons cannot be placed in the cardboard recycling system in Jersey because of the inner layer.
Below is a statement issued by Jersey Government following an investigation into the feasibility of recycling milk and juice cartons used in Jersey.
“Tetra Paks (and other brands of cartons) are not currently recycled in Jersey for a number of reasons. The nearest recycling plant for cartons including Tetra Paks is based in Halifax, England. At present this plant operates a closed-loop water-based process which allows the paperboard component to be separated from the polymers and aluminium from some of the cartons. The paperboard can then be turned into low-value recycled paper items such as cardboard and toilet rolls. The polymer/aluminium are then used in roofing tiles and cement. The plant in Halifax is very clear that some of the cartons or the separated waste such as the polymer/aluminium composite are then sent for energy recovery. In mainland UK, as opposed to Jersey, the preferred option would be to use this plant to send the packaging for recycling or energy recovery as those cartons would otherwise be sent for landfill for which they would be required to pay an expensive landfill tax. Environmentally the solutions offered by the plant in Halifax (either recycling or energy recovery) would be preferable to landfill for the UK. However, in Jersey we have to factor in the transportation emissions and the other associated financial and environmental costs.”
At this present time the better option for Jersey Dairy is to continue to send cartons to the energy from waste plant where the energy from all cartons is recovered. The ‘bottom ash’ from the energy from waste plant is sent to a specialist recovery plant in the UK where all metals, including aluminium, are recovered.
The recycling of food and drink cartons in Jersey requires the machinery of Government and as of now they have decided the better option for Jersey, from an environmental impact point of view, is to continue to send cartons to the energy from waste plant where the energy from all cartons is recovered.
Carton Composition (response from Tetra Pak)
“The new plant-based cartons are not compostable as our plant-based PE is not biodegradable.
The Plant-based (Bio-based) PE has the same qualifications as fossil-based PE and would be recycled in the exact same way. Therefore the cartons are recyclable (in the UK) but not biodegradable. The only difference is in the sourcing of the two: plantbased comes from renewable sources (in our case Sugarcane) while the fossil-based PE comes from oil, which is non-renewable.
Main qualification of beverage carton packages is having a long shelf life, therefore we cannot use biodegradable PE in them. Compositing is therefore not our focus, instead we focus on renewability and recyclability.”
The dairy industry in Jersey is committed to adopting good environmental practice in its operational and capital investment decisions and to operate at the highest levels of efficiency.
The new milk carton has reduced the carbon footprint of each package by 22%.
Jersey Dairy would dearly like to have a truly carbon neutral solution for milk packaging and we know Tetra Pak and other carton manufacturers are chasing that “holy grail”. Glass bottles are not the answer as these have their own environmental issues.
Our new milk carton is a step in the right direction.
Jersey milk is a natural, nutritious & delicious locally produced product with excellent environmental and animal welfare credentials.