Myth: Aluminum Cans Are Better for the Environment

Aluminum is quickly becoming a top trend in single-use packaging, but it isn’t any better for the environment than plastic.

Aluminum can be recycled indefinitely, but the benefits stop there–assuming it is even recycled at all (cans are one of the most littered items in America, according to Keep America Beautiful). Aluminum production emits twice as much carbon dioxide as plastic production. The smelting process for aluminum also emits perfluorocarbon (PFC) emissions that have a global warming potential 9,200 times that of carbon dioxide.

Harvesting bauxite, the ore used to make aluminum, is a very dirty process. Bauxite is pulled from open-face strip mines which pollute nearby communities with thick red dust. That red dust pollutes rivers, kills trees, and is known to give those who work in it cancers and other lethal diseases.

This post is part of a weekly series on environmental myths. You can find more myths here