In the days since the first can of beer was sold in 1935, aluminum cans have grown in popularity and evolved into a sustainable packaging choice for beverage-makers. “The evolution of the aluminum can is much like that of the American automobile — in the last 35 years, its weight has been drastically reduced, but strength and performance have improved dramatically,” says Beth Schmidt, director of recycling for Alcoa Inc., New York. “Today’s aluminum alloys are enabling products to be lighter, more durable and better performing. In fact, today’s aluminum can is 15 percent lighter than it was in 1993.”
As lightweight as this packaging material has become, it still is engineered to be stackable and strong enough to support the weight of other cans placed on top of it while protecting the product inside, says Steve Gardner, vice president of communications for The Aluminum Association, Arlington, Va. In fact, these packages are so strong that The Aluminum Association parked a car on top of four six-packs of aluminum cans to demonstrate their strength, he says.