Who drinks out of aluminium cans?
Just about everyone! Cans are a highly versatile container and can be found virtually anywhere there are drinks: at home, at hotels, in your local café or restaurant, at university, at school, in the corner store, and in nightclubs.
How many aluminium cans are produced in Australia?
Australians consumed over 3 billion aluminium cans in 2005. Of these, 51% were soft drink cans and 31% were beer cans.
Cans are being made lighter every year
An aluminium beverage can weighed 16.55g in 1992 and 14.7g in 2005. This amounts to an 11% reduction in the raw material being used.
What's new about the aluminium can?
In recent years, innovative design and packaging have done much to benefit can drinkers. Widespread innovations include the easy-drinking wide mouth can and the convenient, economical can multi-packs like the 30 pack. In Japan the aluminium bottle has been developed with the advantage that it is resealable. Also embossed cans (mostly beer) cans are now available. More innovations are on the way so keep an eye on your can!
Why do people like aluminium cans so much?
Drinks stay fresher and last longer in aluminium cans.
What is sold in aluminium cans?
In Australia, you can buy all kinds of soft drinks, mixed drinks and beer in aluminium cans in a variety of shapes, sizes and packs. But that's only a taste of what cans can potentially store. In some countries you can find fruit juices and milk in cans. In Japan, aluminium cans are used for housing their popular drink on the run -- warm, milky coffee -- straight from the vending machine. In the USA, aluminium cans have been used for keeping food fresh as well. Peanuts, potato crisps and corn chips have all been put into cans. Aluminium cans are the only container permitted in the Himalayas, Nepal because they are easy to crush and light. The local people who collect used aluminium cans also earn money from recycling the cans.
What else can you do with aluminium cans?
When you've drunk from your aluminium can, it's a great idea to recycle it. Check out our recycling information for more details about the best way to recycle, what recycling aluminium cans really means for the environment, and how to locate your nearest recycling centre.
Visit the Setting up a Recycling Centre section of this web site for more information.
However, some people get really attached to their empty aluminium cans and use them for purposes other than just drinking and recycling. In Africa, one community built themselves a fantastically sturdy hut using aluminium cans and mud. In Italy, a group of enthusiasts built a scaled down replica of the Basilica - entirely out of aluminium cans. And, every day, around the world, there are imaginative people using their old aluminium cans to create inspirational pieces of art and jewellery.
Where does aluminium come from?
Aluminium is the most abundant metal found in the earth's crust. However, it is difficult to isolate because usually it is 'mixed in' with other elements. You can find aluminium in most rocks, vegetation and soils. Being so difficult to isolate, aluminium wasn't discovered until 1807 by Sir Humphry Davy. Then it wasn't until 1886 that an economically viable process was developed to extract aluminium.
How do I check if my can is made of aluminium?
All canned beverages produced in Australia are made of aluminium. But if you're not sure, you can check by putting a magnet next to your can. If it is aluminium, the magnet won't stick so you can recycle it through a Cash for Cans centre. Only put aluminium cans in Cash for Cans recycling cages.
How much does an aluminium can weigh?
Cans are getting lighter all the time. Today, aluminium cans are about 30% lighter than they were 25 years ago. Thinner, stronger sections are now being used with less metal, less energy and more savings in weight. An average aluminium can (without its contents, of course) weighed 16.55 grams in 1992. By 2005 the aluminium can weighed about 14.7 grams.
What's happening overseas?
In 2001, over 200 billion cans were sold around the world and currently world production of refined aluminium is in excess of 18,000,000 metric tonnes.
What's the correct spelling?
Discoverer, Sir Humphry Davy, actually named the element 'aluminum'. This is the spelling still used in the USA today, but in many other English speaking nations (including Australia) we spell the word with an extra letter: 'aluminium'.
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