Cans versus bottles

26 Feb 14

Recycling Cans & Bottles_BlogWhat’s your preference?

Beer drinkers have their own preference when it comes to drinking from either a bottle or a can. Both have their benefits and have been created equal say the experts at SAB.

“Ultimately, the quality of the beer, its taste, and overall consumer satisfaction are our main objectives and we are able to achieve this in bottle and can form, ” says SAB chief brewer Martin Brooks.

Why the can?

Once beer has been carefully crafted right down to the last drop, the can keeps its flavour wholesome but the benefits do not stop there. Other reasons include: the beer stays fresher for longer as the can is highly durable. It is also easily branded and 100% recyclable.

Taste and shelf life

Cans are one-hundred percent hermetically sealed, which means the beer remains fresh for longer and retains its ideal level of “fizz”.

As cans are not transparent, light cannot pass through to its contents, better preserving the taste of the beer, said Brooks. “They also get colder faster than other alternatives, so if you want to enjoy a chilled beer in a hurry, a can is your go-to choice of packaging.”

Durability and technology

Cans are lighter in weight (330ml can weighs 33g when empty) and are unbreakable. Being more durable benefits both consumers and brewers when it comes to transporting and storage. Consumers can take their beer to parties and other social gatherings with ease and brewers avoid the inevitable breakage of some bottles in transportation.

Cans are coated internally with a neutral epoxy water-based finish to provide a maximum barrier protection between the beverage and the metal without compromising on the consumer’s health and safety.

The Green factor

In terms of being environmentally friendly, cans are 100% recyclable and eco-friendly to reproduce.

In South Africa, 72% of cans are recycled (recovery rate) compared to plastic at 30%.

It is more environmentally friendly to recycle cans than to produce them from scratch and the recycling facts prove this:

  • it uses 40% less water;
  • produces 76% fewer water pollutants; 86% air pollutants and 97%less mining waste;
  • the higher the recycling rate, the lower the carbon dioxide emissions during production;
  • it saves 76% of energy reproducing cans than making them from scratch (20 recycled cans can be reproduced compared to making one new); and
  • recycling has no effect to the quality of the can, no matter how many times it has been recycled (the metal always retains its properties).

Why the bottle?

Taste and shelf life

“Contrary to popular belief, green glass bottles are not better than brown glass bottles. Bottles made from brown glass are better protectors of sunlight and stop the beer from becoming “sunstruck”, which can give beer an off flavour, ” Brooks said.

The green factor

Like the can, glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled limitlessly with no loss of quality.

Regardless of where glass is in its lifecycle, it remains a healthy packaging choice ensuring freshness of contents.  It is made from materials that are safe and it has been a trusted packaging commodity for more than 3 000 years.

Again, it is better to recycle and reuse glass (as with the can) than to produce from scratch every time and here are some interesting facts about glass recycling:

  • An estimated 80% of glass that is recovered, is made into new glass products;
  • The glass recycling process is quick and efficient – in as little as 30 days, it can make its way from the recycling bin to a shop shelf; and
  • Less energy is used to recycle glass than to make it from virgin materials the first time around.

Whether you prefer cans or bottles, you can rest assured beer producers have your taste experience top of mind.