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By: Tony Flood   Date: 8/25/10

This week marks the 200th anniversary of the can.  I’m certain many of us take the aluminum can for granted but if it weren’t for the revolutionary idea of Englishman Peter Durand we wouldn’t be able to enjoy favorites such as chicken soup on a rainy day or cold beer after a long day’s work.  In fact, we would probably still be using glass jars instead of today’s aluminum can technology. 

Nicholas Appert the “father of canning” received 12,000 FR from the French government for preserving food in glass jars by sterilization in 1809.  It was later that Durand improved on Appert’s idea and introduced the first tin – plated can in the U.S. in 1818 and in 1957 aluminum was introduced in metal can manufacturing.  Since 1957, aluminum cans continue to provide great benefits to us especially in regards to environmental impact.
Here are a few examples:
• Manufacturing new steel and aluminum cans from recycled cans uses 75 percent and 95 percent less energy, respectively, than producing cans from virgin materials.
• A recycled aluminum beverage can make its way back to the store shelf in as little as 60 days.
• Since recycling began in America, consumers have earned more than $10 billion by returning their aluminum cans.
• More than 137,200 aluminum and steel cans combined are recycled every minute in the U.S.

But recycling isn’t the only benefit that can be attributed to the aluminum can, think food safety and back to Appert and Durand.  Without the technological advances made to preserve food and in later years to ensure safety using aluminum can technology, we would have more cases of foodborne illness attributed to botulism – a rare and sometimes deadly foodborne illness. 

Consider these canned facts from this week’s Washington Post article “Change the world.  Can do” from earlier this week:
• We eat the contents of 85 cans per year, not to mention the number of cold –ones we down during football season
• Canning has helped resolve issues of hunger, disease and malnutrition
• Aluminum cans chill faster and stays colder longer than other beverage container
• Cans provide long –term (nutritional) quality and extended shelf life

Perhaps these tidbits of information will cause you to pause next time you’re at the grocery store or when you hear news about the perceived risks ofBPA – at least now you will have a better argument to support the aluminum can.  As you can see the benefits, personal and environmental as well, far outweigh any perceived risks.

So congratulations Can Manufacturers Institute on your 200th anniversary of the can. 

Tell us your story of what the can means to you.




2 comment(s) so far...

Re: The Can: 200 Years and Counting . . .

Apart from the nutritional values mentioned above, the aluminum cans are also very light hence easy to carry and of late the sleek and attractive designs of the cans are also attracting a lot of young crowd. It is cost effective and handy.

By Cooking Games on   Friday, August 27, 2010

Re: The Can: 200 Years and Counting . . .

I saw a show on the discovery channel (or similar, I can't really remember) where these stranded arctic explorers got shipwrecked with nothing to eat but canned food. Not bad, you think?
Turns out the cans had been soldered closed with lead. The entire troup, one and all, wiped out from lead poisoning. True story.

By beer froster on   Monday, September 20, 2010

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