Aluminum Cans: The Beverage Industry Starts Sipping Sustainably

September 11, 2019

Single-use plastics are still in hot water… but the industry is shifting its focus to cold water! Plastic water bottles as we know them are on the way out. While scientists are hard at work making plastics more sustainable, some companies are dipping their toes into other materials entirely. 

Aluminum is making a big splash for Dasani. In an effort to align with their parent company Coca-Cola’s sustainability initiatives, Dasani unveiled their first-ever aluminum water cans. You’ll soon be able to quench your thirst with 12- or 16-ounce cans, or a 16-ounce resealable aluminum bottle.

water bottle dasani

Photo courtesy of The Coca-Cola Company

Why aluminum? For one, it’s infinitely recyclable. That means it never loses quality no matter how many times it gets recycled. 75% of all the aluminum that has ever been used in packaging throughout history is still in use today. Heck, you could be using the same can Elvis once drank from!

dog with basket

You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog, recyclin’ all the time

Aluminum cans are also recycled more than any other beverage container. 69% of all cans get recycled, which is over 25% better than plastic bottles. The recycling process is super quick for aluminum, too. When you crush a can and recycle it, it can end up back on a shelf in as little as 60 days.

Moving away from plastic bottles is great, but bottles are just one half of the equation for the beverage industry. Plastic cups are even more difficult to recycle. They’re made of a blend of plastic that many centers simply won’t accept. Even if they find their way to a recycling bin, there’s no guarantee they won’t end up in a landfill.

aluminum cups

Photo courtesy of The Ball Corporation

The Ball Corporation wants to change that. This fall they’re introducing aluminum cups in an effort to make partying more sustainable. Think about all the places where plastic cups are used — tailgating, bars, picnics — and you’ll start to see the impact this innovation could have.

The boost in sustainability comes with other perks, too. Aluminum is quicker to change temperature than plastic, so these cups get colder faster. Initial tests show that consumers are big fans of the quite literal cool factor of these cups!

Making these beverage containers more recyclable is a great first step… but recyclability is just kicking the proverbial can downstream. One day the industry will need to go beyond single-use containers altogether. We all have a responsibility to build a future where reusable packaging is the way of the world — and if one company has its way, that future may look something like this