Are cans biodegradable? (3 ways to recycle cans) 

The article will explain the biodegradability of cans. Other covered aspects would include:

  • Are cans biodegradable?
  • What is the best way to dispose of cans?
  • How to recycle cans?
  • Should you prefer cans or plastic bottles?
  • How to reuse cans?
  • Conclusion 

Are cans biodegradable?

Cans are not biodegradable because cans are made of either steel or aluminium. The best way to dispose of cans includes recycling which can be done as many times as liked. 

Cans can also be reused in a variety of ways such as storage of materials, DIY projects, and other crafts projects. In terms of comparison of cans with plastics, cans are better in terms of disposal but in terms of use and manufacturing, plastic bottles take the win.

How is the non-biodegradable stance developed?

To develop stance on the degradation of cans, there are two main prerequisites that will help us in developing a better stance. These are:

  • What materials are cans made of?
  • What makes a product biodegradable?

Therefore, let us diverge into the details and assess our case so that a final verdict may be given.

What materials are cans made of?

When it comes to cans, there are three main materials usually used. These include:

  • Tin coated steel
  • Aluminium 
  • Electrolytic-chromium coated steel 

Therefore, it can be said that the two main materials that are used to make cans are aluminium and steel. cans are usually used for keeping drinks such as carbonated beverages whereas steel cans are used for the packaging of food. 

What makes products biodegradable?

Now, let us talk about the conditions that render something either biodegradable or non-biodegradable. 

When it comes to the conditions, there is not much rocket science to it. There are simple conditions such as the material should be made from natural stuff, it should have an organic inside and it should not be detrimental to the health, life, and the environment. 

If we assess our case of cans through these filters, it can be stanced that the cans are made from metals which do not have organic content and neither are eco-friendly because of the degradative mining process. 

Therefore, it can be well-stanced that cans are not biodegradable. Also, it is claimed that cans may take many hundred years to degrade. In the case of cans, it is studied that the said may require between 200-500 years to degrade. Hence, a big no in that respect. 

If cans are not biodegradable, what can you do to alleviate the environment?

The best disposal method when it comes to the disposal of cans is to dump them in recycling bins. When this is done, it is ensured that the cans are not just becoming part of landfills which will serve no good to society. 

Instead, when cans are disposed of properly, they will be recycled. This will offer a number of advantages to the environment and society. These advantages would include: 

  • Better waste management 
  • Better resource management 
  • Reduced carbon footprint 
  • Reduced greenhouse emissions
  • Reduced mining of aluminium

It is claimed that the recycling of aluminium will require 95% less energy as compared to when cans are made from scratch. This is mainly because of the fact that the mining and processing phases will be avoided when cans are recycled. 

As per the current scenario, it is estimated that about 50% of cans are made from recycled materials. This implies that we are halfway there. We also need the remaining 50% so that the environment can be alleviated collectively. 

How to recycle cans? (3 ways) 

There is not much you can do about it. All you have to do is carefully dispose of it in order to ensure that the cans are properly recycled instead of just becoming a part of the landfills. 

There are two approaches that can be adopted at a subjective level to ensure that the cans are recycled. These are:

  • Disposing of cans in green-coloured recycling bins
  • Transporting cans to the nearest recycling facility 
  • Scheduling a pickup from the nearby recycling centres

The most convenient, of course, of the options available, is the dumping of used cans in recycling bins. However, if those are not available, then you may either transport them directly to recycling facilities or schedule an appointment. 

It is said that cans are infinitely recyclable. That means that you can recycle cans as many times as you like. 

Therefore, if cans are kept on being recycled, there will be no environmental impact of cans on the environment, at least theoretically. 

Can you earn by recycling cans?

Yes, you can earn by recycling cans. It is estimated that around 700 million dollars are wasted when cans are disposed of improperly. This you can help to alleviate and this will benefit you as well. 

In some developed states, you can actually earn some extra bucks by selling used cans to recycling centres. There is a rough estimate that around reselling 30 used cans will earn you a pound. 

The figures may look excessive but regular conscious practice will make the collection look a whole lot easier, and lucrative too. 

Can you reuse cans?

Yes, it always is not about disposal or recycling. There are better options available too and when it comes to that, reusing cans in various projects can be the go-to choice. 

Some of the ways in which cans can be reused include:

  • Decorational purposes 
  • Plant holders
  • Storage
  • Pen holders
  • Arts & crafts 
  • DIY projects

Plant holders

You can actually sow small plantlets in used cans. You may hang them with the help of a small rope. Also, you can light it up with fairy lights. The bottom line is there are many ways to be creative with cans as plant holders. 

Storage and pen holders

The round shape of cans makes them a perfect candidate to be used for storage and holding purposes. These holders are attractive and durable, and the best part is you can recycle them whenever you think the holders have done their purpose. 

Arts, crafts & DIY projects 

Cans make an excellent addition to your arts and crafts materials. Their shiny appearance and handy structure make them a perfect fit for the purpose. You may use cans for arts and crafts reasons either at home or in school too. The idea is to reuse to the fullest. 

However, be sure to use only eco-friendly paints and colours as otherwise, there could be end-of-life complications

Are cans better than plastic bottles?

There are three ways through which a comparison may be drawn between plastic bottles and cans:

Manufacturing 

As regards production, plastic bottles take the win. It is studied that plastic bottles require less energy because the smelting process of cans takes a great toll on the environment. 

Therefore, in terms of the production process, cans will lead to a greater release of greenhouse gases and will lead to fervent environmental problems such as carbon footprint, pollution and global warming. 

Use

Here also, plastic bottles take the win. This stance can be backed up by a number of points that include: 

  • Plastic bottles are cheaper as compared to cans
  • Plastic bottles can be reused because of their lid whereas, cans once opened, will have to be used to the full
  • Plastic bottles have a better grip and accessibility as compared to cans 

Disposal

In terms of disposal options, cans take the win. This is because cans can be recycled easily and endlessly. There is no limit to the number of times cans can be recycled. 

On the other hand, plastic bottles are not that easily recycled. Also, there is greater energy required and employed when it comes to the recycling of plastic bottles. 

Because of this, the US EPA estimated that cans have about 50-70% of recycled content, whereas, in the case of plastic bottles, it is only 3%. 

Conclusion

It is concluded that cans are not biodegradable because cans are made of either steel or aluminium. The best way to dispose of cans includes recycling which can be done as many times as liked. 

Cans can also be reused in a variety of ways such as storage of materials, DIY projects, and other crafts projects. In terms of comparison of cans with plastics, cans are better in terms of disposal but in terms of use and manufacturing, plastic bottles take the win. 

References 

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