(Petaluma, CA) – Lagunitas Brewing Owner, Tony Magee, took to Twitter last night to sound off on the hottest packaging trend of the last couple years: cans.
And he doesn’t like them one bit.
Though cans are championed for their portability, availability in recreational outdoor venues and post-packaging environmental benefits, there is a darker side that brewers do not acknowledge: mining of bauxite. Many have already written about the environmental impact of bauxite mining though Lagunitas may be the first brewer to take it to this level. Here is a just a snippet of a report from Triple Pundit:
In order to remove the aluminum from the bauxite heavy chemicals are needed to dissolve the ore materials from the soil. Sodium Hydroxide, a nasty chemical, is paired with extreme heat to accomplish this task. Five tons of bauxite is needed to produce one ton of unrefined aluminum (alumina). When you consider just how many tons of aluminum are used in the United States alone each year with only a 50% recycle rate, that adds up to a lot of moved earth. And don’t think that the remains from the process are harmless, just ask Hungary which had to evacuate entire towns due to the remaining toxic sludge breaking through its dam. These places are unable to sustain plant life and won’t in the near future.
Aluminums cans, as with anything, have their pros and cons.