Austria’s Most Ecological Milk Packaging – Study Recommends Beverage Carton

As a life cycle assessment study carried out by c7-consult on behalf of Getränkekarton Austria has shown, the beverage carton for chilled milk shows significantly better values in all impact categories than the other containers available in Austria.

In Austria, milk is sold in PET bottles, non-returnable and returnable glass bottles as well as in two different composite beverage cartons. For the purpose of the study, a statistical mean was formed from these two beverage composite cartons, the so-called „Austria carton“. The c7-consult study also examined milk bottles made of rPET (50 and 100 percent) and containers made of HDPE and rHDPE (50 and 100 percent), which are only available in Great Britain. The entire life cycle of the packaging was examined as part of the ecological audit. This includes the production of the raw materials and energy sources as well as the containers, the filling and washing of reusable containers, the distribution from the filler to the food retailer, the collection, recycling and disposal of the containers and packaging as well as other transports and deliveries.

Austria Carton notably better than glas

In all impact categories, the beverage carton for chilled milk shows significantly better values than the other containers available in Austria. In the „climate change“ category – the environmental impact with the highest priority – the beverage carton in Austria has an ecological footprint of 88 g CO2 equivalents per package (1l), well ahead of the non-returnable glass bottle (336 g), returnable glass bottle (115 g) and PET disposable bottle (117 g). Only the 100 percent rHDPE bottle available in Great Britain performs better with 83 g CO2 equivalents per package (1l).

The use of the renewable raw material wood in carton production provides the decisive plus points here, as it removes CO2 from the atmosphere during its growth phase. In contrast, fossil raw materials release CO2 into the atmosphere during their use.

„We have long been part of a functioning circular economy,“ says Georg Matyk of Getränkekarton Austria. Milk packaging made from carton convinces with distinct advantages: It protects the product from light and oxygen, has is lightweight and easy to stack, which is an advantage during transport and storage. After use, beverage cartons are simply collected in the yellow sack or yellow bin and can then be separately provided for the recycling process in cartonboard factories by the sorting plants of the Austrian waste disposal companies.