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Don’t Kick the Can - Track It!

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Don’t Kick the Can - Track It!

by Joe Laur

Former Congressman Tip O’Neill famously said: “Politics is like sausage - you don’t want to know what goes into it.” Well, that day is gone. Folks today do want to know what goes into their food and onto their planet and how simple choices can turn a night mare into a dream. I came across an interesting study in Lean Thinking of what it takes to make an aluminum can from ore - and what we avoid when we recycle cans. I’ll let the can speak for itself. See if you can sense the energy, costs and carbon in each step!

1

2Hi, I’m Cal; a cola can on a grocer’s shelf in England. Did you know I cost more to make than the cola inside me? Let me tell you my life story. You and I will only be together for a few minutes while you consume me, so I’ll be quick. I started as bauxite (aluminum ore) in Australia where I was first mined and trucked to a mill to become aluminum oxide. Lot of energy, but I thought I was worth it! Then I went on tour, first being shipped to Scandinavia, where cheap hydroelectric energy powers a smelter that turned me into aluminum metal. Next stop, Germany where I got rolled into 1/8th inch sheets, then shipped again to another mill where I was rolled even thinner, about 1/80th of an inch! Then I got shipped to England where I was punched into a can, washed, dried, painted and branded (by a company logo, not like cattle!) Then I got sprayed inside and out with protective coatings, and inspected. I was still topless at that point (blush!) Then things got dull, I sat in a warehouse for what seemed like weeks, then took a quick trip to a bottler, where I was filled with bubbly water and sugar (tickled!). Then (at last!), I got my pop-top lid, packaged up in cardboard, shipped from wholesalers to retailers, and finally bought for that next company picnic. Now you are going to drink me (AAAHHH!)… and then I usually get tossed in the trash! Is this all there is to life? In the USA alone, enough of me are tossed away to rebuild every commercial plane flying.

3But this doesn’t have to be the end of my life! - I can be reincarnated again and again! I can have another life as a can, a car part, or my life’s dream - A Boeing 787 Dreamliner- how cool is that?! I can fly the friendly skies for years and then become something else again and again.

It’s up to you to trash me or treasure me - my next life is in your hands!

Thanks Cal! Hope to see you again soon! Here’s another video from our partner The Natural Step about one of Cal’s buddies:

 

Source: Greenopolis.com

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