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Tetra Pak


Through our humanitarian engineering project, we have co-developed in close collaboration with our Colombian partner and small business
owner, Ruby Benítez Rodríguez, a method for 1) separating an aluminum polyethylene composite material out of aseptic Tetra Pak cartons and 2) creating flowerpots that can be sold at markets in Colombia. Ruby is focused on recycling this material, as it poses a significant challenge to recyclers, and she receives high volumes of it. As per Ruby’s requests, the process we co-developed emphasizes maintaining a low environmental impact, low cost, and a high ease of use. The process for separating the components of an aseptic carton includes opening the carton, peeling the paper lining off the aluminum-polyethylene composite layer, boiling the composite layer, and then scraping the remaining paper off the composite. The process for creating planters includes layering the separated composite material with flat low-density polyethylene plastic sheets, sandwiching the layers between two same-size terra cotta pots, baking the pots in an oven, and then punching a drainage hole in the bottom of the planter after the materials have cooled.

Team Members

  • Jeanalle Schlabaugh
  • Tyler Quinn
  • Scott Crowner
  • Ruby Benitez Rodrigues, Reclot

The Client

  • Reclot
  • Diversa


Project Advisor: Dr. Scot Allen

Technical Advisor: Prof. Garrett Mason, Diana Duarte Gómez, and Nata Barrera Gutiérrez

Donations Made by: Reclot and Diversa