Making our pitch

The bottles available at The Open golf competition

Over the years, it’s amazing how we have consistently lost the PR war when comparing the metal packaging industry to plastics and PET. I’ve even sat through general packaging networking events, where I’ve had to listen to senior executives and marketing professionals from those industries try and lecture me on how they’re far more environmentally friendly and less of a burden on the environment.

Of course, we know this not to be the case, and deep down I’m sure they’re fully aware of the merits of metal packaging, but it’s a case that if you say something enough, you end up believing it yourself…

The crux of PET and plastic’s negativity towards metal has always been our CO2 emissions. Therefore, I was heartened to read of the new study by Metal Packaging Europe, the ‘Life Cycle Assessment’ (LCA) of aluminium beverage cans (250, 300 and 500 ml volumes).

Using the latest data available (2016), the study covers the life cycle of aluminium beverage cans produced in Europe, from raw materials extraction to manufacturing, and end-of-life.

When compared to 2006 data, the study records significant reductions in CO2-equivalent emissions. The carbon footprint has been reduced by 31% on average for the three volumes, confirming the industry’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions and to decouple production growth from its environmental footprint.

This is great news for our industry, and exemplifies the great strides made in emmision reductions. There is of course a long way to go, but it shows how the can making industry is in rude health, with the full package in terms of sustainability. And now is the time to advance our marketing message.

As a keen golfer (well someone who plays golf, not good at it), I was heartened to hear that at The Open Championship (not the British Open as my American colleagues like to stress), plastic water bottles will now be banned, in favour of recyclable and reusable aluminium cans. If an organisation that is as traditionalist and conservative as the R&A advocate this change, then I only see us being on the right side of the conversation.

Five thousand special edition reusable BPA-free stainless steel Bluewater water bottles will be given away during the week of The Open, whilst also on sale throughout the venue for less than five pounds.

However, I was a little dumbfounded in the press release, where it has to state that the aluminium is BPA-free. It still seems there is someway to go in education around BPA. I thought the issue had gone away for good, but it still seems to sneak into press releases from time to time. Something to keep an eye on when it comes to metal packaging marketing…

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