Aluminum is an incredibly useful metal fashioned from alumina, a naturally occurring substance found in bauxite ore. Currently, aluminum is one of the most widely-used metals in the world due to its abundance, durability, light weight, and conductivity. This versatile metal can be found in a variety of goods worldwide: airplanes, computer parts, telescope mirrors, abrasive cleaners, pots and pans, and much more.
ADVANTAGES OF ALUMINUM CANS
- Aluminum is 100% recyclable and can be recycled almost indefinitely without loss of quality or durability.
- Aluminum beverage cans can be recycled, repurposed, and back in the store in as little as two months.
- The average recycling rate of aluminum cans 68%, the highest rate of recycling of any resource.
- The use of recycled aluminum in manufacturing utilizes 95% less energy than creating aluminum from raw materials.
DISADVANTAGES OF ALUMINUM CANS
- The aluminum industry was responsible for 140 million tons of CO2 production in 2005 alone.
- Aluminum is a non-renewable resource, and it takes 2-4 tons of bauxite to produce just one ton of aluminum through smelting and refining.
- Aluminum production spends over $2.3 billion annually for energy. Most of that energy is used to create aluminum: over 1 quadrillion Btu of electricity a year.
- Some research suggests that BPA, a chemical lining found in some aluminum cans, may pose health risks.
HISTORY OF ALUMINUM CANS
Nobody knows for sure who first used the simple aluminum can in beverage manufacturing, but some historians claim it was first used to store liquids by Bill Coors and (the same year) by Ermal Cleon Fraze.
- In 1959 beer magnate Bill Coors, frustrated with tin cans and looking for an alternative way to package beer, developed a two-piece aluminum can to sell his product. Promising one penny for every empty aluminum can returned to the company, Coors effectively establishes an effective recycling system for aluminum cans.
- In 1959, Ermal Cleon Fraze invents the pop-top aluminum can, a design that he sells to Alcoa aluminum company in 1963.
- In 1966, the Adolph Coors Company develops a technology for manufacturing new aluminum cans out of used cans.
- In 1967 both Coca-Cola and Pepsi converted to aluminum cans, establishing the aluminum can as the container of choice for the beverage industry.