3 Answers | Add Yours
For most Americans, the juice box is a relatively recent innovation. Juice boxes were introduced into the U.S. market in 1980, and quickly gained popularity among parents for their convenience and durability, and for the fact that the contents do not need to be refrigerated, making them ideal for lunch boxes and camping trips. For Europeans, however, the concept has been around much longer, as any American who traveled through Europe during the 1960s or 1970s can attest. Long before the idea of storing milk and other perishable liquids in an unrefrigerated setting, for example, in a pantry instead of in an icebox or refrigerator, gained traction in the United States, Europeans had already been packaging milk in boxes composed of paper, plastic and aluminum, which enabled storage in unrefrigerated areas, while also extending the shelf-life of the contents for longer periods of time. By constructing beverage boxes from paper, polyethylene and aluminum foil, and by shaping them in a rectangular form, they proved both sturdy and stackable, thereby making them more efficient for storage purposes as well as being easy for children to grip. And, the manufacturing process that produces the boxes used for consumable liquids like milk and juice can be made sterile, thereby minimizing the likelihood of bacterial growth, assuming the integrity of the package is assured, as any air that gets in will facilitate the growth of bacteria.
Ruben Rausing, a Swedish businessman, is credited with inventing the manufacturing process for beverage boxes during the 1950s and early 1960s. It took years for Rausing – whose real name was Andersson – to develop the means of storing beverages in an antiseptic environment that would prove easier to store and more user-friendly than traditional glass jars. By 1963, however, he had mastered the concept with the introduction of the Tetra Brick, the box that would be used for storing beverages. Rausing’s Swedish roots enabled European markets to exploit his invention sooner than in the United States, where cultural inhibitions against unrefrigerated milk had to be overcome. His invention revolutionized the food packaging industry, for better or worse. As juice boxes gained in popularity across the United States, the environmental implications of these plastic and aluminum containers became increasingly apparent.
Juice boxes are a modern day convenience first developed in the 1960s. The basic anatomy of a juice box is quite simple:
A juice box is made of liquid packaging board which is usually six layers of paper,polyethylene, and aluminum foil. Paper is used to shape the product and give the box an extra source of strength (Wikipedia, Juicebox)
These extra layers preserve the contents and enable consumers to enjoy the product well after its packaging date. However, the extra layers make it incredibly difficult to recycle the juice boxes.
There are special "hydro-pulping" machines that can mash the boxes up into paper pulp, separate out the plastic and aluminum, and turn it all into lower-quality products, like toilet paper or plastic pellets. However, not many American cities have hydro-pulping machines, so in most places, you can't recycle a juice box even if you want to. (PBS Kids)
The aseptic container was invented in the 1960s by a Swedish man named Ruben Rausing. In 1963, Rausing was trying to figure out a more efficient method to get milk to the market. He needed a container that was smaller and less cumbersome than the metal canisters being used. Rausing developed a precursor to the juice box: a brick-shaped box he named the Tetra Brik. Because of their rectangular shape, Tetra Briks, when stacked on top of each other, took up half the space of the old containers. Five years later, Rausing made an even bigger breakthrough when he figured out how to fill the Tetra Briks under completely sterile, or aseptic, conditions.
Once the juice box was introduced to the United States in 1980, competitors began entering the market at a rapid rate. These companies began implementing all sorts of ideas to gain larger shares of the market, including filling the juice boxes with a variety of different flavors, adding vitamins and other nutrients, and making packaging changes to widen the juice box's appeal. By 1986, juice boxes made up approximately 20% of the United States juice market.
When juice boxes first entered the market, they were often filled with diluted juice drinks rather than real fruit juice. However, realizing that Americans were becoming more health conscious, the juice box industry responded by filling the boxes with healthier beverages. A number of companies added vitamins, such as A and C. In the early 1990s, Minute Maid became the first company to add calcium to its juice boxes. Other companies soon followed.
Despite their growing popularity, not everyone had positive things to say about juice boxes. Environmental groups were worried about the effect that juice boxes and other aseptic containers could have on the environment. Specifically, these groups were afraid that aseptic containers would fill the nation's landfills because they are not as easy to recycle as other types of packages. The state of Maine even went so far as to ban the sale aseptic containers. This ban was later repealed, but other states have considered adopting similar legislation.
In response to this opposition, the Aseptic Packaging Council (APC), a trade association that represents the major United States manufacturers of aseptic packages, was formed in 1989. Their primary mission was to inform the American public about the product benefits and environmental attributes of aseptic packaging. Since its inception, the APC as been working closely with communities nationwide to encourage the inclusion of juice boxes in recycling programs. These efforts have already proven successful in some communities. In addition to recycling efforts, juice box manufacturers argue that aseptic containers are actually friendlier to the environment than other types of containers. For one, they take up less room on trucks when being transported from factory to store, thus conserving energy by requiring fewer trips and using less fuel. The aseptic filling process itself also requires less energy than traditional canning and bottling methods. The manufacturers also point out that packaging makes up only 4% of the weight of a filled aseptic container in contrast to filled glass bottles, which are typically 30-40% packaging. This leaves less packaging to dispose of when dealing with an aseptic container.
In the late 1990s, attitudes about the environmental friendliness of the aseptic package began to change. In 1996, the aseptic carton won the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development, and the aseptic packaging industry was recognized for demonstrating environmental responsibility throughout the product life cycle. In 2001, this increased acceptance by environmental activists, combined with the industry's efforts toward incorporating new and innovative marketing ideas, continues to make the juice box the driving force behind the juice industry.
- Creating the carton blanks
- Sterilizing and filling the juice boxes
- Finishing touches
Join to answer this question
Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.Join eNotes