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Steel and aluminium are used a lot in packaging to produce cans, foil containers and metal closures. Both metals are easy to recycle (and are 100% recyclable), usually through your local kerbside scheme. Here are some facts about cans.

Tin Can

*One recycled aluminium can saves enough energy to run a television for three hours.

*If all aluminium drinks cans sold in the UK were recycled, there would be 14 million fewer dustbins. (Source: www.alupro.org.uk)

*An estimated 6 million aluminium drinks cans are thrown away each year in Jersey alone. (Source:

*Three out of four cans used in the UK are made from steel. (Source: www.scrib.org)

*Aluminium is the third most abundant element found in the earth's crust, after oxygen and silicon. Sir Humphrey Davy established its existence in 1807, but it wasn't extracted for many years, until they found the best way to do it.

*Aluminium has the highest value of any recyclable packaging material. (Source: www.eastbourne.gov.uk)

*Steel cans have been used for food packaging since 1810, when a Frenchman, Nicholas Appert, responded to Napoleon's challenge to invent a method of preserving food for the French army. (Source:www.scrib.org)

*20 recycled aluminium cans can be made with the power it takes to make one brand new one.

*Over 5 billion aluminium drinks cans are sold within the UK each year. Around 3 billion are lost to landfill.

*In the UK, over 13 billion steel cans are used every year. 1.05 billion are recycled, which is approximately 3 million cans a day!

So what is the difference between an aluminium can and a steel can?

Aluminium cans have these characteristics:

Recyclable Aluminium

*The symbol on the can
*A shiny base
*Do not stick to magnets

Steel cans have these characteristics:

Steel Recyclable Symbol

*The symbol on the can
*A dull base
*Sticks to magnets

Further information

Aluminium Packaging Recycling Association (ALUPRO)

Steel Can Recycling Information Bureau

Tin Cans

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