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Recyling Tetra Pak

Updated: Jun 26, 2021

All about & how-to recycle

FAQ to Used Beverage Cartons (UBCs) Recycling

Tetra Pak recycling best practices is taught as early as in pre-school by the Little Green Dot (LGD) team, organised by Tetra Pak Singapore and supported by the Singapore National Environment Agency (NEA). 

How to Recycle UBC

After drinking from a cardboard packaging product, don’t just throw it in the general bin. Make sure it is placed in a recycling bin - paper or plastic, or the commingled recycling bin at HDB residences as it will be sorted out later at the Materials Recovery Facility. Kids can dispose of them at the school's UBC specific bin if the school has registered to be a part of the LGD program. Schools receive a poster and a cardboard bin specifically for the cartons.

Do I need to prep the carton before disposing of it?

Yes! One is strongly encouraged to Rinse, Flip, Flap, Flatten (3”F”) the UBC before depositing it into the UBC recycling bin or the commingled recycling bin. This is to help prevent pest, save storage and transportation space and make collection more efficient and effective.

Do the 3F steps (Flip-Flap-Flatten):

Flip – Open the packaging fold. Empty the contents and wash thoroughly.

Flap – Place the straw in the package so that it is recycled together

Flatten – Remove the packaging into a separate waste bin

What about straws?

Apparently the facility that recuperates the UBCs has accepted to take straws - once the cartons are clean, just make sure you push the straw inside so it cannot get lost. This is the main reason why straws are never recycled. Most material recovery facilities have mechanical sorting that at some point discard all the small pieces, usually less than 5cm wide, leaving them for the incinerator. Hence, straws get discarded and not recycled. If it's safely locked inside a pack, it is spared the ordeal! And the facility that recuperates the drink cartons is informed of their presence.

Can I recycle UBCs at work?

Why start a specific UBC bin if they can go in the commingling?

It's more convenient to have a separate bin at proximity, and more importantly it avoids contamination if other items in the commingling bin have food or other organic perishable waste on them (after all you've spent time flattening and washing all these cartons!). For this reason, the UBC bin needs to be lined first with a plastic bag. Once full, transfer to the commingling bin of your building - this varies with the collectors they use. Blue type bins for HDBs take everything, so do recycling bis outside landed property located centres, or you can use the paper recycling bin if your office is in a condominium or shopping mall.

Do we need a specific UBC bin?

No, you can actually use any bin you like! The UBC bins are FSC cardboard bins... nothing special about them.

Do we don't need to reduce the use of UBCs?

As with everything, we promote REDUCING first. In the case of TetraPak, the packaging is made up of paper, plastic (PE) and aluminium (Al). They get collected along with other empty beverage cartons from across Malaysia and Singapore to a specific paper mill, where the paper is turned into other products but not into new cartons so it's down cycling and not recycling as such. The plastic and aluminium layers are actually turned into roofing. This means that new materials are used every time to create new cartons: paper (trees), plastic (oil extraction) and aluminium (mined). For this reason, we recommend to inform about the importance of REDUCING the carton consumption just as much if not more than how to recycle them :)

So we're FLAT OUT (yes terrible pun... we admit) of more info on what to do with these packs.. it's your turn now to start consciously recycling them.

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