08 Feb 2022 Unpacking a sustainable way of life

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about packaging?

Most probably, the word plastic will jump to mind. Packaging waste happens to be a major part of the total waste generated globally, which mostly consists of single-use plastic packaging. However, aluminium is fast emerging as an adaptable, eco-friendly and sustainable alternative to plastic packaging. The multi-faceted structural properties of aluminium enable it to be transformed into any shape and size without compromising on strength. Add the fact that it is also infinitely recyclable, and you begin to get the picture!

Aluminium foil is the darling of many a kitchen across the globe. Any long journey is incomplete without a delicious meal wrapped in shiny aluminium foil. It’s hard to forget the universal joy of unwrapping a chocolate bar from its aluminium package or quenching your thirst with a cold fizzy drink that comes in an aluminium can. But why is aluminium packaging so synonymous with food?

The physical properties of aluminium allow it to keep food fresh, warm or cold, and safe. Take the case of the humble aluminium can. Aluminium cans allow the beverage inside to hold their taste, are stackable and strong enough to maintain shape during transportation over long distances, all the while shielding the contents from external conditions. It is no wonder, therefore, that pharma companies rely on aluminium packaging to keep medicines safe for consumption. The next time you enjoy a chilled beverage from an aluminium can, also think about the fact that these cans are endlessly recyclable. In fact, aluminium cans are among the most recycled products in the world.

Aluminium is one of the rare and unique materials that can be recycled over and over again in a truly circular, closed loop recycling process, without degradation in the material quality. Over its lifetime, an aluminium can’s utilization is effectively less expensive and more sustainable than traditional packaging materials.

But why just the aluminium can? In fact, 75% of all aluminium ever produced in the world is still in productive use, having been through innumerable loops of recycling and reuse. As companies evolve new methods to use aluminium in packaging, the second-most widely used metal in the world, could hold the key to drastically reducing packaging waste globally and mitigating its adverse impact on the environment.