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This plant milk concentrate freed me from tetra pack hell

Photography By The Almond Farmer
Published 05.10.21

This is Cool is a series from the RIISE team that shares the people, brands, products, ideas and initiatives that are, you guessed it, cool.

I’m proud of my trash. Walking into the kitchen I gaze on my bin with pride. To anyone else it’s an innocuous item, but to me it’s a victory. Because, for the most part, it’s usually pretty empty.

My recycling box and compost pile are another story. They’re eternally overflowing, needing to be ushered in and out of the house constantly. But the bin stays comparably quiet. Years of careful waste management and research mean single-use plastics, food scraps and packaging have largely disappeared from my home or been diverted to more planet-friendly end-life destinations.

But there is one foe I struggled to vanquish: Tetra Paks.   

Why can’t you recycle Tetra Paks?

Anyone with a taste for plant milks is deeply familiar with Tetra Paks. They’re the cardboard, aluminium and plastic containers that house most non-dairy milk and many other liquids such as juice, custard and buttermilk. At first glance they seem like a recycling bin-friendly product. Technically they can be processed in some plants, which is why some signal so on their packaging. But in practice they’re infamously difficult to dispose of thoughtfully.

Most Australian council kerbside recycling programs can’t process them due to their plastic coating. The company has made efforts to establish its own recycling system in partnership with Planet Ark, but Tetra Pak requires you to locate and go to a container drop-off point – which are limited.

As a result, a product that technically is recyclable, and to be fair is produced largely from recycled materials, ends up in the bin. Hense ruining my dream of trash elimination. 


The plastic-free plant milk dream

Now there has always been the option of making your own non-dairy milk at home with the help of a very powerful blender and a fine cloth to strain it through. But, let’s be honest, that’s messy and time consuming.

Recently things have been simplified with the rise of pre-made plant-based milk concentrates. These are easy enough to whip up: just add a few tablespoons to your blender with a litre of water and in a few minutes you have your own low-waste option that can be stored in glass jars and bottles. There’s just one catch…for the most part, they’re not great.   

Finally, a plant-based milk concentrate you’ll actually want to drink

At RIISE, we’ve been on a long-term quest to find a concentrate that can match the texture and taste of our favourite plant-based milk brands. It’s been a struggle, full of oat, almond and hemp heartbreaks.   

That was until I recently spotted The Almond Farmer’s DIY Almond Milk at my local health food store. I can’t tell you what prompted me to pick it up and invest a sliver of hope, but after tearing through the jar I assume it was fate.   

These guys clearly know almonds (they make a range of other yummy products), so probably they have access to some ancient, secret nut knowledge I’ll never fully comprehend. But all I need to know is this stuff is delicious. It’s great in cereal, in tea and cooking. So far, I haven’t reached the limits of its potential. Hell, it even tastes good on its own.   

But the best news? There’s fresh hope in the battle for my kitchen bin.   

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