Once upon a time…” – this is how all good stories begin. And the story we’re going to tell you right now is just fascinating. That’s why we start with these words.

Once upon a time, a small piece of metal set out on a journey. Its tale begins in the can manufacturing factory where the metal arrives either on coils or pre-cut. Before it is shaped into its final form as a can, an aerosol or anything else, it will be lacquered or printed. With this transformation it’s ready to become something amazing.

After the can is created, it sets out for the next step on its journey: the place where it will be filled up with its content. Doesn’t matter if it’s food, beverage, colour, deodorant or hair spray. Whatever it’s filled with, you can be sure, that the can’s purpose is to make you happy.

After that our can will be transported to a super market where it’s ready to be bought and brought to your home, where you’ll use it till it’s empty. Then you’ll drop it in the bin. At this point you might think the trip is over now. But no, it’s still going on.

How can something final as the dustbin not be the end?

We’re going to explain this marvel to you. The metal packaging is collected together with your packaging waste and brought to the recycling centre. The metal gets separated from the other waste for example by a big magnet (metal packaging made from steel) or through an eddy current separator (metal packaging made from aluminium). An eddy what? Through a electro-physical effect, the eddy current separator creates forces which literally ejects metal packaging from the stream of mixed packaging waste. After being rescued from the other waste, the journey of our little can goes on.

The metal travels to the next station on its extraordinary trip – the metal press. The scrap metal press might sound terrifying and painful, but not for the metal piece. Afterwards, the metal scrap travels to aluminium foundries or steel mills – big ovens where the metal scrap is re-melted. The metal can then be used for building and automotive sectors, in house-hold equipment, or again for packaging.

2016-03 CW10 The Circle of a Can's Life final

The metal’s story is a circle, the circle of a metal packaging’s life. When it comes to end, it just starts again with endless opportunities. The saying “you might become anything you want to be” is actually true – at least if you’re a can. Because started as a can you might become in your next life an air plane, a train, a bicycle – or a can again.

And if it is not used for a cool DIY-stuff (like the ones you can find on our blog), the metal will go round again and again and again …

Did you like the metal story? Let us know about your thoughts and comment below!

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