Ever wondered who makes that Coca-Cola can you’re drinking from or that ice-cold can of Heineken you’re pouring? Behind the scenes, Rexam, a leading global beverage can maker creates some of the world’s most iconic cans for much-loved brands.
The Aluminum Association has been making the case for packaging more beverages in cans, which can be recycled more effectively than plastic or glass bottles. One industry segment that’s solidly on board: craft brewers.
As reported in Packaging News, the EU was expected to present a list of objections to the deal to ensure a competitive metal can sector following the prospective merger – including a programme of divestment.
You may not know what they're called, but odds are you've eaten or drunk something from them. I'm referring to plastic-aluminum laminate (PAL) packaging, which has long been used for toothpaste tubes and in recent years has gained popularity as pouches for food, drink and pet food.
Although it threatens to approach the ubiquity of the aluminum can or plastic bottle, PAL packaging lacks the familiar recyclable logo found on cans and bottles. But that could be set to change, with a process to recover the metals contained in PAL packaging, developed some 15 years ago by researchers at the University of Cambridge, now being demonstrated in a full commercial-scale plant.
Despite currently not being recyclable, PAL packaging does tick many other environmental boxes and is still considered more environmentally friendly than other packaging options, such as glassware and cans, when a full life-cycle assessment is taken into consideration. This is because, very little energy goes into the production of the packaging and it is extremely light, cutting transport costs. These attributes, plus the fact it protects contents from light and air, make it attractive to manufacturers.
"There is no real drive to replace them and their market use is increasing by about 10–15% every year," says Dr Carlos Ludlow-Palafox, a chemical engineer at Cambridge. "In the UK, roughly 160,000 tonnes (176,370 tons) of laminates are used per year for packaging, which means at least 16,000 tonnes (17,637 tons) of aluminum is going into the ground. Just imagine if we could routinely recycle this."
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