Low carbon cans
We’re increasingly hearing about how companies are innovating to produce more sustainable products and those made from aluminium are already ahead of the curve with their infinitely recyclable properties. Meanwhile, some interesting news this week about a partnership to produce low carbon beer cans grabbed my attention.
Budweiser Brewing Group, the UK arm of AB InBev, together with Rusal, the Metals segment of En+ Group, Canpack and Elval have announced the launch of a pilot to produce a can with the lowest ever carbon footprint for an AB InBev beer can produced in Europe.
Five million ultra-low carbon Budweiser 440ml cans, made with ground-breaking emission-free inert anode aluminium technology, will be manufactured using renewable electricity and will be available from Autumn 2021.
The low carbon can is the result of a partnership amongst sustainability-minded businesses who have worked together to pilot the initiative in Europe. The cans will be produced by Canpack UK using 100% renewable electricity and made out of aluminium coils manufactured by Elval, the aluminium rolling division of ElvalHalcor.
The metal is produced by replacing the usual primary aluminium with Allow Inerta – ultra-low carbon primary aluminium produced by Rusal. The cans will be filled at Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I breweries in Magor, South Wales and Samlesbury, Lancashire powered by 100% renewable electricity.
By partnering across the value chain, the can is traceable back to its source. It starts with Allow Inerta, produced with the breakthrough inert anode technology, and it is mixed with recycled aluminium. This new formula achieves the lowest ever carbon footprint for an AB InBev Europe aluminium can, it is infinitely recyclable, and brings the future of low-carbon, sustainable packaging to consumers.
Three quarters of all aluminium ever produced is still in use today and decarbonisation is accelerating in the industry, showing consumers can trust aluminium as a circular and low-carbon packaging material.
Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I says it aims to brew the UK’s most sustainable beers and since January this year, it has brewed every can, bottle and keg in the UK with 100% renewable electricity from its own wind turbine and two solar farms. The brewer has also removed plastic rings from its portfolio and has met its goal of brewing with 100% British-grown barley, reducing carbon emissions and championing local agriculture.
John O’Maoileoin, group sustainability director at Canpack, said: “Although aluminium cans are one of the most sustainable packaging materials around thanks to the fact they can be recycled forever without any loss of quality, it’s been amazing to push their green credentials forward still further through real collaboration and to create a Budweiser can with a minimal carbon footprint.”
The inert anode technology from Rusal, operated by renewable energy, generates one thousandth of the current average emissions for the industry. Direct and indirect smelter emissions are at 0.01, compared to 12 t CO2/t Al for the industry average. The full cradle to gate GHG emissions of Allow Inerta – from bauxite to casthouse – come at a record low of 2.5 tCO2/t Al, 85% lower than the industry average.
Let’s see how the pilot works out and where the journey to low carbon cans leads.