Recycling drinks cans

You probably love a fizzy drink, but have you ever wondered what happens to the tin once you’ve finished with it?

The first thing that will surprise you is that the tins aren’t actually made from tin any more. In fact, they haven’t been made from tin for many years now. Instead, they’re made from aluminium, which is light, durable, and – most importantly – 100% recyclable.

How can you tell if your can is made from aluminium? Number one – it says so on the side with the recycling information. And number two – and you can test this yourself – it won’t stick to a magnet.

Virtually all recycled aluminium is used to create new drink cans. Britain gets through millions of them every day – eight billion ever year – and the industry relies on people like you recycling their empties to keep prices down. It’s much cheaper to create new tins from old than to go out and mine new aluminium somewhere else in the world.

‘New’ aluminium has to be extracted from its ore called bauxite, and it’s an energy intensive process. In fact, recycling old aluminium cans instead uses 95% less energy than using new aluminium from bauxite ore. Experts say that three-quarters of the aluminium in use around the world today is recycled. That’s because it never loses quality no matter how many times it’s used, melted down and recycled into new goods.

The big problem is this: No matter how efficient it is to recycle aluminium cans, there is always a loss to the system because people still throw their empties away into their general waste bin and they end up in landfill. Millions of cans end up this way in Britain every year, and burying them in the ground means they’re lost forever, and new aluminium has to be bought instead to replace them.

You can help the planet by always recycling your empty cans. Not only are you saving energy by using one of the most efficient materials to recycle, you’re also keeping the prices of drinks down as well.