We know we shouldn’t – but sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be an option to purchasing goods in packaging that can’t easily be recycled. Tetra Paks – the sort of cartons that milks (of all sorts) come in, are regarded by many as one of the most difficult forms of packaging to dispose of environmentally. That’s because they are made of not one, but three, different materials fused together.
Polyethylene, paperboard and aluminium are all used in the manufacture of the 6-layered Tetra Pak designed to keep liquids in and bacteria out. Although some councils advise placing Tetra Paks into the recycling bin, many do not, and even where recycling is an option, the material faces being sent off-shore to special plants where the layers can be separated. The recovery process is expensive and the material generated from it is often low-grade and is fit only for use in building industry products.
If you don’t have any option but to purchase your milk in a Tetra Pak, we do offer some small consolation – you can repurpose the packaging into a cute and practical card and cash wallet that is sure to gain attention from friends who will want one too!
You will need:
- An empty 1 litre Tetra Pak of the sort which soy, nut, oat or dairy milk comes in (the dimension of these Tetra Paks are approximately 19.5 x 9 x 5.5 cm).
- Paper clip
- Hole punch
- Rubber or silicone band
What to do
- Trim off the top and base of the Tetra Pak (which we will now refer to as a ‘carton’).
- Wash the carton out thoroughly, and dry it inside and out.
- Flatten the carton along its fold lines. Trim the carton top and bottom so it measures 17.5cm in length. Open the carton out again.
- Make two cuts in the carton to create a flap. Each cut should be 6cm long. Fold the flap back, creasing the fold with a ruler. Shape the flap by trimming off its corners.
- Trim off the excess carton below the flap.
- Open the carton out again. Concertina its sides in. Crease the resulting folds.
- Fold the carton back on itself, leaving the flap free. Hold the fold together with a paper clip.
- Cut a small ‘V’ in the front of the flap as shown.
- Using a hole punch, punch a hole 2 cm down from the top, and 1cm in from the side, of the flap. Thread your band through the hole, looping it back through itself to secure it. Tighten.
- Place your cards and/or cash in the wallet. Close the flap, securing it with the band.