Aluminum Beverage Cans
Aluminum cans are the most sustainable beverage package and are infinitely recyclable. They chill quickly, provide a superior metal canvas to print on and, perhaps most importantly, protect the flavor and integrity of our favorite beverages.
- The most sustainable beverage container
As the most valuable package in the bin, aluminum cans are, by far, the most recycled beverage container. The average can contains 70 percent recycled metal.
- Shipping efficiency: the weight advantage
Aluminum cans are lightweight and easily stacked. This provides storage and shipping efficiencies and limits overall transportation carbon emissions through logistics and supply chains.
- True closed loop recycling
Aluminum cans are recycled over and over again in a true “closed loop” recycling process. Glass and plastic are typically “down-cycled” into products like carpet fiber or landfill liner.
- New markets continue to develop
Nearly 500 craft beer brewers use aluminum to can more than 1,700 different beers. Protection from light and oxygen are two key benefits in addition to the unparalleled sustainability of aluminum packaging.
Food and merchandise canning
Aluminum cans provide long-term food quality preservation benefits. Aluminum cans deliver 100 percent protection against oxygen, light, moisture and other contaminants. They do not rust, are resistant to corrosion and provide one of the longest shelf lives of any type of packaging. Aluminum-based food canning has an unparalleled safety record. Tamper-resistant and tamper-evident packaging provides consumers with peace of mind that their products have been safely prepared and delivered. A vast variety of products are packaged using aluminum in addition to food and beverages: aerosol products, paint and thousands of other items in the consumer products market.
Beverage can technology continues to improve
In the past half-century, aluminum beverage can manufacturers have lightened the package by reducing the gauge required to fabricate both the cans and their ends. The first generation of aluminum cans weighed approximately 3 ounces per unit. Today’s cans weigh less than half an ounce. Aluminum cans bring packaging benefits as well. They are easily formed, resist corrosion and will not rust. Cans made from aluminum easily support the carbonation pressure required to package soda and withstand pressures of up to 90 pounds per square inch. Believe it or not, four six packs can support a 2-ton vehicle.
Modern cans are generally produced through a mechanical cold forming process that starts with punching a flat blank from very stiff cold-rolled sheet. This sheet is typically alloy 3104-H19 or 3004-H19, which is aluminium with about 1% manganese and 1% magnesium to give it strength and formability. The flat blank is first formed into a cup about three inches in diameter. This cup is then pushed through a different forming process called “ironing” which forms the can. The bottom of the can is also shaped at this time. The malleable metal deforms into the shape of an open-top can. With the sophisticated technology of the dies and the forming machines, the side of the can is significantly thinner than either the top and bottom areas, where stiffness is required.Plain lids (known as shells) are stamped from a coil of aluminium, typically alloy 5182-H48, and transferred to another press that converts them to easy-open ends. This press is known as a conversion press which forms an integral rivet button in the lid and scores the opening, while concurrently forming the tabs in another die from a separate strip of aluminium.
Aluminum alloy applied