The iconic beer can – the world’s most recycled and sustainable beverage container – turned 75 years old this week.
Ball Corporation, the largest supplier of beer cans in the world, says that cans have offered a light weight, durable alternative to glass beer packaging since Krueger first introduced its Special Beer and Cream Ale in steel cans in 1935.
Since then, the aluminum can has become an attractive choice for brewers and is now the predominant beer package in many parts of the world.
Thanks to the introduction of aluminum cans in 1958, beer cans are now lighter and more sustainable than ever before. While the first steel beer can weighed 35 ounces and required a church key for opening, today’s aluminum beer cans now weigh just .47 ounces and feature easy-open, stay-on tabs.
The beer can is not only the lightest beverage package available, it is the most recycled package in the world, too. More than 50% of all aluminum cans in the US – and about 70% of all aluminum cans in Europe – are recycled. That’s a higher recycling rate than any other beverage container.
Aluminum cans are infinitely recyclable and require 95% less energy to produce than new aluminum cans. And if you choose to drink a cold can beer in celebration of the beer can’s 75th anniversary, it can be recycled and back on store shelves in as little as 60 days.