Aluminium is an extremely versatile material and ticks the recycling box easily; in fact, aluminium has been recycled for nearly 100 years and 75% of it ever made is still in use today, so nobody could ever say it isn’t sustainable. Why then are more and more manufacturers in the packaging sector looking to replace it with metal free alternatives?
One of the downsides to using aluminium is that it is a rigid material and whilst it will bend, it doesn’t allow for much in the way of easy flexibility. Products such as aluminium free pouches are being trialled to replace the traditional can for drinks, working on the basis that these can hold the same volume of liquid but take up less space in storage and on the shelf by flexing together to simply reduce dead space. They can also be segmented in different designs; flat pouches, stand up pouches etc.
Reusable & Resealable
Reuse value is something that is also becoming prevalent in the packaging sector, and items like tin cans don’t offer this as a benefit; whilst they are readily recycled, they have limited reuse potential. Going back to the pouch example, these are being made with resealable caps and spouts. Not only do they offer more benefit to the end consumer as they are more practical and convenient, they can be reused once the original product has been consumed.
As we’ve said, aluminium is an environmentally friendly material with undisputed recyclable credentials, but we do have to look at the cost of producing and recycling it. Aluminium free alternatives can offer a significant reduction in the carbon footprint of the material, which in turn can only be a good thing for our planet.
There will always be products that require metal packaging, but it is also important that we explore new technologies and products as we move forward into 2019 and beyond.