The fashionable beauty of Tetra Pak packaging, TETRACT project Sleeve | upcycleDZINE

Tetra Pak packaging and covers form a magazine are great for upcycling. Here’re just two previously published ideas on what to do with these items. One is an impressive TetraBox Lamp collection by Ed Chew. And the other one is an amazing and stylish Magazine Bag by Anastasia Baron. And now I found a very interesting and beautiful combination of the two materials.

Repurposing waste into fashionable products

TETRACT is a project started by industrial designers Lakshyta Gupta and Alfred Jerry, both from India. The idea was born out of an “urge to change the face of our priceless natural surroundings, society, culture, and heritage for the better by opting for the method of upcycling.”

The fashionable beauty of Tetra Pak packaging, TETRACT project Wallet | upcycleDZINE
TETRACT project Wallet | upcycleDZINE

Why Upcycling? Well because this method helps to repurpose waste into creating functional, durable, and fashionable products. In this case, it is a range of products made up of used Tetra Pak containers. The process involves weaving and sewing to form the shell layer used for several products. A total of 123 Tetra Paks are used to make this collection.

The manufacturing process

According to the designers, this project is a small attempt to understand the significance of upcycling and circular economy. “After analyzing the waste generated around us, empty Tetra Pak packaging, of various sizes, were chosen and experimented with. It was observed that the layers of plastic, paper, and aluminum form a strong surface and the inner silver side could be of great aesthetic value.

The fashionable beauty of Tetra Pak packaging, TETRACT project Production process | upcycleDZINE

Collecting, cleaning, cutting, weaving and sewing were the main steps taken to make these products. This greatly extended the life cycle of the Tetra Pak containers. Environmental awareness and protection is a priority.

Lakshyta Gupta and Alfred Jerry:

“We all have to play our part in protecting the planet. Think about it. Act upon it.”

Carton package waste and recycling

Sometimes I come across statistics that are just mindblowing. Just like the amount of packaging waste created in India. Here it comes. India generates 25,940 tonnes of plastic waste every day out of which 40 percent remains uncollected. Retrieving that 40%, of which a part is Tetra Pak packaging, from municipal solid waste is a challenging task in India. That’s because, despite legislations, waste is not segregated at the source. According to a report, there is consumer apathy to waste segregation due to various factors like a lack of awareness and access to relevant information, no support system for collection of segregated waste, etc. Recovery of recyclables relies on informal waste collectors. 

The fashionable beauty of Tetra Pak packaging, TETRACT project Pouch | upcycleDZINE
TETRACT project Pouch | upcycleDZINE

Tetra Pak is the biggest packaging company in the world. They say they collect roughly 35,000 tonnes of cartons every year to recycle them into paper and other products. Today, more than 1 in 3 Tetra Pak cartons in India are being recycled. On the website of Tetra Pak it states that on average, more than 70 percent of Tetra Pak’s packaging material is made from long, strong paper fibers that can be recycled several times. The thin layer of polymers – or plastics – in their beverage cartons can be blended with other polymers and turned into new products, such as roofing tiles, crates, carton boxes, and more. 

The final upcycled product

The TETRACT project created a nice range of upcycled products. The collection consists of a wallet, pouch, and a laptop sleeve. A combination of two sizes of Tetra Pak packaging, 150 ml, and 180 ml, was used to make the woven part, the mat. In the end, they used 22 containers for a Wallet, 29 containers for a Pouch, and 29 containers for a Sleeve. Which adds up to a total of 72 pieces of Tetra Pak packaging. 

The fashionable beauty of Tetra Pak packaging, TETRACT project Collection | upcycleDZINE
Photos © TETRACT

All in all, a very impressive idea that resulted in a stylish fashion collection. Seeing the end result, you wouldn’t say it was made out of waste.
Again a great example of what can be achieved by upcycling. 

Design by Lakshyta Gupta and Alfred Jerry 

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