Aluminium is one of the most abundant elements on earth, and since we found out how to mine and put it to use efficiently in the early 1900's it has gone on to infiltrate nearly all aspects of modern life. The reason for this is that aluminium possesses numerous traits and qualities which make it ideally suited to a wide range of purposes; it is light, strong, durable, malleable, non-magnetic, the list goes on!

While these qualities make aluminium perfect for use in some rather big and amazing things, such as aeroplanes, X-ray machines and power cables, it is also used for some relatively mundane purposes, such as packaging.

When you think of aluminium packaging, the most prominent example that will occur to people will be aluminium cans. This is for good reason, as it is probably the one we come into contact with the most, with most, at the very least, seeing one on a daily basis; which is funny when you think that they have only been around for 42 years.

Aluminium cans

Other than drink cans, aluminium can be found in various other packagings, including chocolate bars, yoghurt pots, pre-made meal containers, pie cups, and many more. The reason aluminium is used to make these over other materials is that as well as being lightweight, it is also corrosion resistant, non-toxic and easily recycled.

The first two of the aforementioned qualities help to ensure that the container's contents are secure and safe from external contamination; basically nothing can get in and nothing can get out. This may also work to help prolong the shelf-life of whatever food or drink stuff is being held inside.

Regarding its recyclability, aluminium is 100% recyclable and can be reused and re-purposed over and over again, without the material's qualities diminishing. This is good news considering that 90% of all drink cans in the UK, and around 50% of America's, are made from aluminium.

Blister pack

Other than food and drink aluminium packaging is also used in the blister packs which medicines are normally contained in, tubes for things such as toothpaste and containers for sprays like deodorant.

Fun Facts!

  • It is possible for an aluminium can to be manufactured, filled, sold, consumed, collected, recycled and back to being a can again in less than 2 months.
  • Aluminium is the second most used metal in the world. Steel is first, with brass, zinc and copper taking third, fourth and fifth respectively.
  • Aluminium can recycling within the EU reached a record of 68% in 2011. It is projected to be at 75% by 2015, and 80 by 2020.

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