With so much talk about the environment, recycling, and climate change, nearly every facet of our lives has a component of environmentalism. Plastic bottles are a huge concern because they aren’t easily recyclable and mostly end up in the ocean. Packaging is a major part of the waste and environmental degradation. However, there is one form that is almost infinitely recyclable—aluminum cans.
Aluminum cans were once thought of as wasteful, but that was before modern recycling practices. Now just about every form of beverage packaging isn’t as sustainable as aluminum cans. It has become one of the most common ways to contain any beverage. Whether it’s water, beer, soda, tea, or even wine, aluminum cans are the preferred method for beverages. Below are a few reasons why aluminum cans are the future of beverage packaging.
Aluminum is Cheap
One of the most significant reasons that beverage companies are using aluminum is because it is cheap. Let’s be clear. The production of aluminum is costly, but the infinite recyclability makes it much more affordable than other materials. There is a huge return on the investment. It doesn’t take much money to produce aluminum cans since companies are now recycling aluminum to make their cans.
These cans are made in just about any size and are much more affordable than glass. When considering the overall impact of each material, aluminum ends up being less costly in general. Plastic has dire environmental impact, which makes it untenable for anyone who is concerned about the planet and the posterity of humanity. Luckily, aluminum doesn’t cost much and is a very effective way to package any beverage.
Versatile Art Possibilities
While you can print directly on the aluminum can, a lot of beverage companies these days are making labels to slap on the can itself. Can sleeving enables drink businesses to decorate their beverages with beautiful art while providing information about the beverage. They can create a brand identity that is both consistent and unique.
There are shrink wrapping services and sticker label services. Now you can make your drink look like whatever you want it to. For example, Liquid Death has made a water brand look like a beer or simply a hip beverage. With many labeling and packaging companies able to fill the cans, label them, and package them for distribution, companies don’t even need to do this in their facilities.
With aluminum cans being nearly infinitely recyclable, they allow beverage businesses to create a consistent brand image that includes environmentalism and concern about waste. Liquid Death is a great example of this, but there are many others. Whether it’s water, wine, beer, soda, or something else, the company can show that they care about the planet by promoting the use and recycling of aluminum cans. It may even say it on the label. “Recycle me” or “I’m recyclable” is being put on these cans to promote the environmentalism of aluminum. Every consumer likes a business that cares about the bigger picture. It is no wonder that these businesses are going above and beyond to promote this mentality with their drinks.
Versus Plastic Bottles
The obvious reason the beverage industry is switching to aluminum is that they have many advantages above plastic. First, plastic is wasteful and bad for the environment. Plastic may be more durable, but the chemicals from plastic can melt into the liquid. This can even lead to cancer. Aluminum doesn’t melt that easily. Cans also typically have a much longer shelf life than plastic bottles. In general, there aren’t many true advantages of plastic beyond that it is cheap to produce. It is not, however, cheap in the end when you consider all the impact and cost of breaking down these plastics. It isn’t hard to figure out why many people think that aluminum cans will fully replace plastic bottles. Durability isn’t that big of an issue. When compared, aluminum is the way to go.
Compared to other forms of packaging, aluminum cans are the most sustainable material for drinks in every way. They allow companies to package more drinks with less materials. They are more valuable to take to local recycling efforts. From 42.7 billion cans recycled in 2019, there was a 92 percent energy savings rate per can. This is compared to a 55.9 percent industry recycling rate. If all of plastic was replaced by aluminum, which is entirely possible, we would be doing the right thing for the planet and the future of humanity. Recycling, production, storage, and use are all easier on the Earth than any form of plastic is. Glass isn’t even as sustainable as aluminum.
Protection against Outside Contaminants
Finally, another reason that aluminum will be the beverage packaging of the future is that they protect from outside contaminants. It provides complete insulation from oxygen, light, and moisture, allowing businesses to keep drinks fresh while removing any possible contamination that affects the quality of the drink. Aluminum is perceived as cheap, but it can actually effectively package fine beverages. Cans don’t rust and are corrosion-resistant. They have one of the longest shelf lives in all of packaging, offering drink companies peace of mind when they put an expensive drink inside them.
The beverage industry tends to use wasteful plastic to package their beverages, but these days will soon be a memory from the past. Plastic is unsustainable and untenable. Glass isn’t as bad, but it’s more expensive and difficult to recycle. Aluminum scratches all the boxes.
Not only are aluminum cans easily recyclable and therefore cheap to produce, they are insulated better than any other packaging. They avoid contaminants, have a long shelf-life, and make the least impact on the environment. Aluminum has been around as long as anybody can remember, but now people in the beverage industry are acknowledging the material’s benefits. If we work together to ask beverage companies to package in aluminum and do our job of recycling that aluminum, we will be creating a better world while enjoying some tasty drinks.