Aluminum Cans or Plastic Bottles?
The bottled water industry is increasing efforts to replace plastic bottles with more easily recycled aluminum containers, or cans. The effort follows public anger about reports that plastic water bottles are severely polluting the world's oceans.
The French Danone company is the latest to replace some plastic water bottles with aluminum cans. Competitors like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestle have also started selling water in aluminum cans.
Replacing plastic water bottles that pollute the seas with recyclable aluminum cans should be an easy way to help the environment, right?
Aluminum cans might result in less ocean waste, but they also come with their own cost to the environment. The production of an aluminum can is estimated to release two times as much carbon dioxide into the air as a plastic bottle.
That's the dilemma you're going to have to choose between, said Ruben Griffioen, an official at beermaker Heineken. He said his company was trying to reduce both plastic waste and carbon dioxide release.
啤酒制造商喜力的管理人员鲁本•格里芬表示: “这是你必须在两者之间做出选择的两难境地。”。 他说他的公司正在努力减少塑料垃圾和二氧化碳的排放。
The Environmental Protection Agency says aluminum cans have about 68 percent recycled content compared to just 3 percent for plastic bottles in the United States. As a result, aluminum is widely seen as the better choice for the environment.
美国环境保护局说，铝罐含有大约68% 的可回收成分，而在美国，塑料瓶只有3% 。 因此，铝被广泛认为是更好的环保选择。
Martin Barrow is with the non-profit organization Carbon Trust. He said, "The aluminum industry can play on the fact that its product is infinitely recyclable, and they're right."
However, Barrow said, "aluminum uses huge amounts of electricity and it's also got some chemical releases of greenhouse gas emissions."
Never be that clean
Aluminum has a larger carbon footprint in production because of the power needed in the smelting process. But, the metal containers also are lighter than glass or plastic bottles. Also, aluminum cans require less electric power to cool the liquid they contain.
由于在熔炼过程中需要大量的电力，铝在生产中有更大的碳足印。 但是，金属容器也比玻璃或塑料瓶轻。 此外，铝罐需要较少的电力来冷却里面的液体。
It's a complex picture, said Simon Lowden of Pepsico. "You have to think about transport, secondary packaging, time in store, all those considerations come into play."
Bruce Karas of Coca-Cola North America agreed. He said, "There's a mix, there are some things that are not that desirable, but if you have five good things and one that isn't, we'll all have to make decisions."
北美可口可乐公司的布鲁斯 · 卡拉斯对此表示赞同。 他说，“这是一个混合体，有些东西不是那么令人满意，但如果你有五件好东西有一件不是，我们都必须做出决定。”
It'll never be that clean, he added.
Plastic strikes back
Bottled water is a $19 billion industry. Although its use of cans is increasing, experts say cans are unlikely to completely replace plastic bottles.
Aluminum is costlier than plastic so canned drinks mean higher prices for buyers. Another major consideration is user convenience – cans stay open while bottles can be reclosed.
Karas said Coca-Cola is still looking at how the buying public reacts to canned water. The company plans to test the market. Later this year, it will carry out a limited launch of its water product, Dasani, in aluminum cans and aluminum bottles that can be reclosed.
卡拉斯表示，可口可乐仍在观察公众对罐装水的反应。 他们计划将对其进行市场测试。 今年下半年，该公司将有限度地推出其饮用水产品 Dasani，包装采用铝罐和铝瓶并可以随时开起与拧上。
Other companies, including Danone and Pepsi, are testing new plastics that are biodegradable or easier to recycle.
There is another possible barrier to ending the use of plastic water bottles: There may not be enough cans to go around. Beer and wine makers are now also increasingly using aluminum.
停止使用塑料水瓶还有另一个可能的障碍: 可能没有足够的易拉罐。 啤酒和葡萄酒制造商现在也越来越多地使用铝。
An official with Ball, the world's top supplier of aluminum cans, said, "This is a level of growth that we haven't seen in a long time."
世界最大的铝罐供应商 Ball 的一位领导说: “这是我们很久没有看到的增长水平。”
I'm Jonathan Evans.
我是乔纳森 · 埃文斯。