The aluminium aerosol – rethinking its route to the sustainability summit

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Gary Okey, executive vice-president of Recycle Aerosol, explores the sustainability credentials of aluminium aerosol containers.

There is an ongoing debate in the packaging industry driven largely by the much broader, growing public interest in the proper stewardship of our planet’s resources.

First, I should state that Recycle Aerosol’s core energies have been focused on aerosol recycling for more than a generation, so naturally, we have some seasoned, but evolving experience-based views on the subject. We are agnostic on the question of which aerosol package format is more sustainable. We recycle aluminium, steel and even plastic/polymer aerosols, as that format develops. Each material has its proponents and each manufacturer can make convincing arguments as to why their (aluminium, steel, or plastic/polymer) container is more sustainable.

Having seen several lifecycle analyses (LCAs) making these comparisons, I believe that their conclusions depend on the assumptions built into the LCA’s algorithm. As with the science of political polling, the results will depend greatly on how the questions are...

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