Is there anything better than a cold beer on a hot day? Greek Philosophers Plato and Aristotle were known to have clinked beers on the veranda on a hot day, so most likely not. Joking aside, though, there are specific impacts that bottles and cans have on the environment aside from their recycling viability.
Benefits of bottles
The principle benefit of glass bottles is the ease of mining new materials. Glass is made from the easily mined silica, whereas cans require the mining of bauxite, which takes a far greater toll on the environment. Manufacturing also plays a part in this – an aluminium can requires 2.07 kilowatt hours of electricity to produce, while glass bottles only require 1.09 kilowatt hours.
The biggest potential boon for bottles is them being completely refillable with the right equipment; the Bayern Brewery in Montana spent $400,000 on an imported German bottle washing machine that allows for 60% of its beer to be packaged into reused glass. Even in this instance, if more locals opted to return their glasses, the brewery could produce 100% of its beer in reused glass.
Benefits of cans
Cans weigh considerably less than glass bottles, which is particularly advantageous when cans are imported from overseas. The sheer distance beer bottles need to travel when they weigh so much more than cans results in a considerably larger energy expenditure.
Not only are beer cans lighter, but their compact size profile allows for more cans to fit in a space than bottles (due to the neck of the bottle). The combination of lighter loads that are still more full of product translates to highly efficient transportation that requires less fuel for delivery of the same payload.
Is there an ideal beverage container?
What should you take from this? Drink beer on tap when you can (because those kegs are constantly re-used for between 15 and 20 years), drink cans from overseas, and drink bottles locally. None of this is possible 100% of the time, though, so just make sure to use your best judgement when choosing your next delicious beverage!
Regardless of whether you’re sipping on frosty bottles or ice-cold cans, one thing is important: the need to recycle your containers. Toxfree provide bins for both glass and metal so that you minimise your impact on the environment and pass on your materials for future beer drinkers.