EUROPE – Tetra Pak has unveiled its paper straws for beverage products in Europe as part of the sustainable innovation alternatives to plastic waste and its impact on the environment.

The paper straws will be used for its beverage cartons, moving closer to its target of using recyclable or biodegradable materials in its products.

Made from FSC™ certified paper and recyclable with the rest of the package, the new paper straw will be available initially for two small size carton packages commonly used for dairy and beverage products for children: Tetra Brik® Aseptic 200 Base and Tetra Brik® Aseptic 200 Base Crystal.

The company said it has started field testing of the paper straw in limited volumes and plans are underway to increase production capacity at its straw plant in Lisbon, Portugal.

“We are pleased to have developed a paper straw that is fully functional and meets internationally recognised food safety standards,” said Adolfo Orive, President and CEO, Tetra Pak.

“This is an important step in our vision to deliver a package made entirely from plant-based packaging materials, contributing to a low-carbon circular economy.

“We have decided not to apply for patent protection on the numerous technical improvements we have made on the equipment and the materials, and instead put our innovations into the public domain.

“For the industry to achieve its common goal of driving towards a low-carbon circular economy, the entire supply base for paper straws must expand and grow quickly.

“We invite all suppliers and customers to use our knowledge and join forces with us to ramp up production as quickly as possible.”

Tetra Pak said it is working with some technology companies to explore biodegradable options, such as polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), a polymer derived from plant-based materials.

This is part of the strategy to develop sustainable solutions which so far include renewable packaging like tethered caps and integrated drink-from systems.

The company pledged to invest US$115 million per year in supporting its packaging portfolio innovation strategy.

The company recently opened a new aseptic carton packaging material factory in Binh Duong, Vietnam after investing US$135 million.