Food and Beverage Packaging: Beverage packaging manufacturers continue to focus on sustainability. What is the environmental benefit to using beverage cans?
Megan Daum: Aluminum beverage cans can be recycled again and again without loss of strength or quality, which keeps aluminum in permanent use and out of landfills. Cans are collected, recycled and put back on store shelves in as little as 60 days. Making new cans with recycled material decreases energy use by 95%, and with a 65% recycling rate, aluminum cans are the most recycled beverage container in the United States. In fact, nearly 75% of all aluminum that’s ever been produced is still in use today.
FBP: It appears as though craft brewers are using cans with greater frequency to package their beers. Have you noticed this trend?
Daum: The movement towards canned craft beer in the U.S. highlights a growing recognition among brewers and consumers that the can is the package that best preserves the integrity, taste and quality of beer. As of July 1, 2013, 1,025 beers from 305 craft breweries are being made available in cans (craftcans.com).
Brewers invest their time, energy and resources in order to create delicate and perfect products, and they choose cans to avoid damaging or altering the precise balance of ingredients. Only cans protect beverages from their two greatest threats: air and light, and in a consistent product delivery mechanism. Brewers are choosing cans to deliver the best beverage enjoyment experience and, of course, to do the right thing for the environment.
FBP: Have sustainability campaigns made a substantial impact on the consumer?
Daum: In a recent survey commissioned by the Aluminum Association, 7 in 10 adults said they would purchase a product because its packaging is better for the environment. The study also found that Americans believe that aluminum cans contain the highest percentage of recycled material. We’re proud to report that aluminum beverage cans contain an average 68% recycled content.
Americans can save more than $3 billion worth of energy each year by recycling cans. Consumers are doing their part by helping to recycle 105,800 aluminum beverage cans every minute.
FBP: What economic impact can be attributed to the can industry?
Daum: Can manufacturing accounts for the annual domestic production of approximately 124 billion food, beverage and other metal cans. As a result, the American companies that support the can manufacturing industry employ more than 28,000 people in 33 states, Puerto Rico and American Samoa. Currently, there are 224,257 jobs tied to the can manufacturing industry.
CMI is the national trade association of the metal can manufacturing industry and its suppliers in the United States. The can industry accounts for the annual domestic production of approximately 124 billion food, beverage and other metal cans; which employs more than 28,000 people with plants in 33 states, Puerto Rico and American Samoa; and generates about $17.8 billion in direct economic activity. Its members are committed to providing safe, nutritious and refreshing canned food and beverages to consumers. To learn more about cans, the sustainable and smart solution, visit: www.cancentral.com/sustainability