Sustainability and Steel Packaging

Today’s steel can may look the same as those used 20 years ago, but subtle changes have occurred. You probably haven’t noticed them because the steel can remains as strong and durable as ever. Yet the amount of steel used to manufacture the container has been reduced by approximately 31 percent, and the amount of tin used has been reduced by more than 60 percent. Still, steel remains the material of choice for a variety of cans, including: food, beverage, vegetable, paint and aerosol cans.

This achievement is just one of many ways the steel industry has modernized its steelmaking process to produce more with less waste. More efficient steelmaking processes now in place have dramatically reduced the amount of steel scrap generated at the mill itself. And lighter, stronger grades of steel are being used in automobiles, appliances and other products.

By using less steel per can, for instance, we can make more steel cans thus reducing costs in our effort to offer a competitive product.

Steel food cans are the most recycled food and beverage package. More than 1,500 food items come in steel cans, and more than 28,000 community recycling programs in North America collect steel cans for recycling.

Annual Overall Steel Recycling Rate

Note: Annual Steel Recycling Rate runs 18 months behind
due to industry and governmental reporting.

This recycling record, along with efficiencies in the steelmaking process documented throughout this site, have given steel an inherent advantage as it continues to maximize its sustainability. This case in point is illustrated through this case history.

A Scientific Certification Systems study shows canned foods are the most energy effective method for product delivery is canned-ready meals followed by bulk refrigerated products and canned fruits and vegetables.