Which is more eco-friendly: cans or glass bottles?

Which is more eco-friendly: cans or glass bottles? Aluminum cans and glass bottles are two of the most common types of beverage containers used today. They are common alternatives to plastic bottles, but which one of them is better for the environment?


How are cans made?

Cans are made with aluminum. Aluminum is extracted from bauxite ore, while glass is made from sand, soda ash, and limestone. Mining for both materials can have a negative impact on the environment, including deforestation, water pollution, and air pollution. Aluminum mining can be particularly harmful to the environment. Bauxite ore is often found in tropical rainforests, and mining for bauxite can lead to deforestation. Aluminum mining also produces a large amount of waste, which can pollute water and air.

The manufacturing process for aluminum cans is very energy-intensive. To make aluminum cans, bauxite ore is first refined into alumina. Alumina is then melted in an electrolytic cell to produce aluminum. The aluminum is then rolled into sheets and cut into shapes. The sheets of aluminum are then stamped into cans and coated with a protective layer.


How are glass bottles made?

To make glass bottles, we need sand, soda ash, and limestone. These materials are all abundant resources, and mining for these materials does not typically lead to deforestation. Sand, soda ash, and limestoneare are then melted in a furnace. The molten glass is then poured into molds to form bottles. The bottles are then annealed to strengthen them and coated with a protective layer.


Transportation footprint of cans and glass bottles

Aluminum cans are lighter than glass bottles, so they require less energy to transport. Aluminum cans weigh about 15 grams each, while glass bottles weigh about 400 grams each. This means that it takes less energy to transport a truckload of aluminum cans than it takes to transport a truckload of glass bottles.


Can we reuse cans and glass bottles?

Aluminum cans and glass bottles can both be reused multiple times. However, aluminum cans are not reusable indefinitely and are more likely to be eventually disposed than glass bottles.


Are cans and glass bottles recyclable?

Good news: Unlike plastic, both aluminium cans and glass bottles are infinitely recyclable. Read more in our article “Are glass and aluminum infinitely recyclable?”

Aluminium cans are one of the most recycled item in the world. They are easy to recycle, and are more recycled than glass bottles. The energy required to recycle a can is less than the energy to recycle a glass bottle. Also, manufacturing a can or a bottle from recycled materials requires significantly less energy than manufacturing them as new.


In conclusion, which is more eco-friendly: cans or glass bottles?

Aluminum cans are lighter and easier to transport than glass bottles. This makes them a more efficient option for transportation and reduces their greenhouse gas footprint. Glass bottles are heavier and more difficult to transport than aluminum cans. This makes them a less efficient option for transportation and increases their greenhouse gas footprint. However, glass bottles can be reused multiple times and are more durable, which reduces their waste production and water consumption.

The best beverage container for you depends on your individual needs and preferences, but if you can, always choose cans or bottles made from recycled materials, and make sure to reuse and or recycle them. Finally, also consider other aspects like the packaging, or where the drink comes from, and make sure to choose local.


Additional considerations

Here are some additional factors to consider when choosing between aluminum cans and glass bottles:

  • Cost: Aluminum cans are typically less expensive than glass bottles.
  • Durability: Glass bottles are more durable than aluminum cans.
  • Transparency: Glass bottles are transparent, so you can see what you are drinking. Aluminum cans are not transparent, so you cannot see what you are drinking.
  • Taste: Some people believe that beverages taste better in glass bottles than in aluminum cans.
Author: easyecotips