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LAMINATED CARD (DRINKS CARTONS)

V. Ryan 2011

 

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Laminated cartons are used to store liquids such as milk and pure orange juice, for up to a year. This type of carton is composed of paper/card and layers of polythene, keeping the contents fresh and hygienic. The most famous laminated cartons are manufactured by Tetra Pak. In Sweden, over 130 billion tetra paks are manufactured each year. Tetra paks are used in over 150 countries, around the world.

Tetra Pak packaging materials, are made up of paperboard (73%), plastic (22%) and aluminium foil (5%).
   
The main material used in the manufacture of laminated cartons (wood), is harvested from sustainable woodlands.
The resulting tree trunks have their bark removed at a paper mill. This is achieved by rotating the trunks and as they knock together the bark falls off.
   
 
   
The cleaned tree trunks are cut into small chippings of wood.
Lignin, an important chemical compound found within the tree’s secondary cell walls, is removed through boiling at 160 degrees centigrade. This also separates the fibres from the cellulose (found in the primary cell walls).
The fibres are washed and cleaned. A proportion are bleached white. They take the form of a soft pulp.

The original brown fibres and bleached white fibres, are forced tightly together, forming two compressed layers. This is now card, with the white face on the outside.
The design is printed on what will be the external sides of the laminated container, the white sides. The printed card is creased for folding later.
Three layers of molten polythene are sprayed on the inside and a single layer on the outside. This will protect the future contents, such as orange juice and the design printed on the outside.
   
 
   
The laminated card is formed into cartons and the ‘food’ contents added.
   
The laminated container is now ready for distribution to retailers.
   
RECYCLING OF LAMINATE CARD
 
Tetra Packs are recyclable into products such as egg boxes, paper bags, envelopes and writing paper.

The used cartons are placed in a pulping machine, which contains water. The machine has a rotating arm which pulverises the contents. After approximately twenty minutes, the wood fibres can be reclaimed and recycled into card /paper based products.
 
 
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