Saturday, August 16, 2008

Plastic or cans? How about both?

So I thought I was improving on some level on the environmental scale by eschewing plastic in favor of aluminum cans for my soda fix. After all, cans are fixed portions and are more easily recyclable.

Then I read this on the BBC "Month without Plastic" blog:

That aluminium can is not only metal, your cardboard drinks carton is more than just cardboard and a disposable coffee cup is unlikely to be mere cardboard and wax. ...


In the case of aluminium fizzy drinks cans, the lacquer lining is to stop the acid in the beverage from eating into the metal which would weaken the can and taint the drink.

As shown on the website of colourful US television science presenter Steve Spangler, it is possible to dissolve the outside of the can to reveal the thin polymer (resin) inner.

However, this does not affect aluminium's status as one of the most fully recyclable materials.

Furthermore, the lacquers are burnt off in the recycling process and the resulting gasses used to help power the furnace.

Cartons used for juice, milk, soup and other liquids are made up from layers of paperboard and low density polyethylene (LDPE).


It's more than a little disturbing how much plastic has infiltrated out lives. Even my soda isn't safe! One more reason to add to the list why I should be a little more serious about giving it up.

3 comments:

Carol said...

I get Starbucks iced green tea nearly every day. It comes in a #2 plastic cup, which I take home every day from work and throw in the recycling bin. Please don't tell me I shouldn't drink from a #2 plastic cup!

Rjs said...

Carol - at least you're recycling it. It's just more than a little disturbing to me about the plastic in the alumninum cans - which not only doesn't get recycled, but we're likely breathing it in. Scary.

Rjs said...

Carol - at least you're recycling it. It's just more than a little disturbing to me about the plastic in the alumninum cans - which not only doesn't get recycled, but we're likely breathing it in. Scary.