Monday, March 17, 2008

Drink Green

Although I don't drink, for those do, now you can make an environmentally conscious decision to drink your beverage from a glass bottle or aluminum can.

The article points out that benefits of using aluminum cans are that we are more likely to recycle aluminum, that it is lighter to transport, and that the average beer can contains 40% recycled aluminum (compared to 20-30 for glass). However, aluminum ore (called bauxite) is mining intensive, and is imported into the United States from Australia (largest bauxite mine production), Guinea (2nd largest bauxite mine production), and Jamaica (4th largest bauxite mine production). (Note the rankings are from 1988 data listed in Nonferrous Metals: Industry Structure, U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment). The article notes that:

"As a result of bauxite mining's environmental toll, manufacturing a 12-ounce aluminum can is twice as energy-intensive as making a similarly sized glass bottle: 2.07 kilowatt hours of electricity for the can vs. 1.09 kilowatt hours for the bottle."

The advantages to using glass is that the raw materials to produce it are available in the United States, and it can also be recycled. However, it is heavier to truck then aluminum, is less likely to be recycled then aluminum, and less of it is recycled for use in bottles.

The choice ultimately boils down to where your brew is brewed. If it is brewed locally and your town/city recycles glass, glass bottles are the way to go. If it is brewed far way, then aluminum cans are the way to go. Lastly, if you don't mind the beverage served at that tap, then a beverage served in a glass/mug may be the best choice of all.

1 comment:

Jrod said...

A good post...I'll try to follow your when I'm at the bar.