Aluminium packaging offers a high level of corrosion resistance. It provides optimal protection properties by offering an impermeable metal barrier to light, ultra-violet rays, water vapour, oils and fats, oxygen and micro-organisms. When used to package sensitive products such as pharmaceuticals or food, aluminium is hygienic, non-toxic, non-tainting and retains the product’s flavour. The aluminium barrier also plays the essential role of keeping the contents fresh and protecting them from external influences, thereby guaranteeing a long shelf-life.
Aluminium’s unique range of properties make it the perfect material for many packaging requirements. Aluminium is: Light-weight With a density of 2.70g/cubic cm (compared with iron used in steel 7.86g/cubic cm), aluminium products are very light, cutting down on transport costs. Impermeable Aluminium has an excellent barrier function therefore keeping out air, light, liquid and microorganisms to preserve the contents of food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. Thermal Conductor Aluminium transfers heat 2.4 times faster than iron. This combined with the fact that very thin sheets can be produced, means that heat is lost and gained through aluminium very quickly. Hence it is ideal for cooking and as a cold drink container. Flexible Aluminium can be rolled into extremely thin foil and can be cast and joined and still retain much of its strength. Recyclable Aluminium is 100% recyclable and uses only 5% of the energy used to make the original product. Aluminium drinking cans are the most recycled packaging product in the world.
There are many benefits of using aluminium in packaging and ways that it can be used. The websites listed below contain good general information on aluminium in packaging:
Packaging website by the International Aluminium Institute
The International Aluminium Institute released its Packaging website in 2011 and contains a wealth of information on aluminium packaging, as well as images, videos, downloadable reference material and links to external sites and more.
Packaging section on the Aluminum Association website
This section of the Aluminum Association’s website contains brief information on aluminium in packaging. There are dedicated pages to cans, foil and rigid containers. The can page includes a good graphic description of the aluminium can production process.
Packaging section on the European Aluminium Association’s website
This section gives good information on aluminium’s use as a packaging material. The section also includes images, marketing development information and packaging brochures.
Aluminium Packaging (focus on Europe) page by AZO Materials
This webpage gives good information on a number of topics related to aluminium packaging with a focus on Europe. Topics include advantages of aluminium packaging, applications of foil, growth of the aluminium can industry, aerosol cans, etc.
Aluminium foil is one of the most popular packaging applications around the globe. These links contain information dedicated to aluminium foil:
The European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA)
The EAFA represents the aluminium foil industry in Europe. The sectors represented include roller group, container group, rewinder group and flexible packaging Europe. The website contains in depth information on the various sectors.
Properties of foil on the Alufoil website
This page gives a description of aluminium foil as a packaging product. Information includes properties, benefits and applications.
Aluminium is quickly becoming the most popular drink container in the world due to its unique set of properties – making it the only drink container that is 100% recyclable and weighs a fraction of its competitors. The links below will take you to websites that contain information dedicated to aluminium cans:
Can Manufacturers Institute
The Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) is the trade association of the metal and composite can manufacturing industry and its suppliers in the United States. The CMI website has extensive information on cans, including environmental issues, history, recycling and statistics.
Aluminium Closures Turn 360°
This website provides details on the ‘Aluminium Closures – Turn 360°’ campaign launched by the European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA). The campaign aims to promote aluminium closures for use in wine packaging, highlighting the advantages of using aluminium, which include the prevention of oxygen deterioration during the shelf-life of the wine.
Aluminium in a relatively young material – only having been commercially produced for just over 100 years. In that time aluminium has continued to be a popular packaging material and it’s use in this area has only increased over time:
Cans – a Visual History
This website gives good information of the full history of cans – beginning in 1795, through to 1957 when aluminium was first introduced in metal can making, all the way through to the present.
100 years of Alufoil – on the EAFA website
This article looks at the 100 year history of aluminium foil – including the different and evolving ways that foil has been used to package various products. Links are included that will take you to images, and greater information on foil rolling and periods in history.
Packaging sales on the Alcoa website
This link will direct you to the Alcoa packaging product page. From here you can navigate to other pages dedicated to Alcoa’s packaging products.
Impact International website – tube makers
Impact International produces squeeze tube and collapsible tube packaging for toothpaste, foods, pharmaceuticals, personal care and household chemicals. This link will take you directly to the aluminium tubes page – with product specifications and sales contact.
Aluminium Packaging section on the Jet Technologies website
Jet Technologies is a specialist importer and distributor of products to the rigid and flexible packaging industry. This section contains information on Jet Technologies’ aluminium packaging products, including specifications and images. Company contact details can be found under the Contact Us button at the top right of the page.
The tools below are designed to educate about aluminium in packaging:
Alufoil – the game on the EAFA website.
The animated game challenges youngsters to find alufoil-based packaging in a house by sending Mr Al U. Foil to selected rooms and once in the room clicking on products which they believe contain aluminium foil.
Teacher resources on Learning Aluminium website
This section of the Learning Aluminium website has been set up to assist teachers in educating students about the use of aluminium in their everyday lives.
This page includes lifecycle resources and resources for 7-11 year olds and 11-14 year olds.
Aluminum facts and Educational resources on the Aluminum Association website
This page provides student educational resources. There is a quick read section, a cool facts section and cool science project ideas as well as general information.