We are students of an Erasmus project about climate change and we are engaged in sustainability. Our littles contributions added, recycling and reducing, thinking about the waste management, could be a big global action to save our world of an imminent climate change.
First of all we would like to address our request to all of the big companies that are selling drinks in cans,more specifically to the big multinationals like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Fanta, Heineken or Estrella Damm, just because those are the ones that produce this type of product the most.
The process of the production of metallic cans requires a lot of energy on the miner extraction of the bauxite, that is the one from where they get the aluminum. The places that are used unfairly end up grievously degradeds, and, it creates millions of tons of gases of the greenhouse effect per year, like carbon dioxide, and gases that contains the acid rain like sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide. As well as the process of transformation of the bauxite on aluminium it requires a lot energy and water. For theses reasons, the percentage of metal used in each can has been decreasing during the last few years.
The Spanish citizens consume around 14471 millions of liters of refreshments per year, which is equal to 43853 of millions of cans per year, more specifically, in Catalonia, 326 liters are consumed per year, which implies 98,9 cans per person. Most of these cans can not be reused because not everyone recycles them and that’s what produces the contamination.
The aluminium containers are very easy to recycle, not only the metal does not lose quality but also it can be reused several times. Recycling aluminium we save around 95% of energy needed to produce pure aluminium from bauxite. In other words, the same energy is needed to produce an aluminium can starting from bauxite to produce up 30 recycled aluminium cans. However, a global scale recycling of aluminium containers does not reach half of what it consumes. In fact, in 2016 only 45.5% of the total packaging of aluminium consumed in Spain was recycled, according to data from the Association for the Recycling of Aluminium Packaging (Arpal).
Big multinational companies should lead the production of glass bottles so that small enterprises would follow their example.
Our proposal is to replace the cans to glass bottles. This way the percentage off production of cans or non-reusable packaging would decrease.
As a consumers we can influence opting for recycled aluminium containers. The recycled products are marked with the recycling identification symbol of the European Commission as number 41. So, this is a good element for identify which aluminium products are recycled. On the other hand, it is even better if we reduce the use of these products by other less polluting containers like glass.