Olieplatform henter råolie til fremstilling af plastikflasker

Bauxite, crude oil and river sand are the raw materials used for making cans and bottles from scratch.

We surround ourselves daily with things without thinking about their origins. Bottles and cans are an example.

A can is made from aluminium. This metal is primarily based on the mineral bauxite, which is found in Australia, Brazil, China and the United States. Bauxite comprises 8% of the earth’s crust, so there is plenty of it. But manufacturing 1 kg of aluminium requires mining 4 kg of bauxite, which is converted into aluminium in a chemical process. This requires 95% more energy than melting existing aluminium and converting it into new material.

A plastic bottle is mostly made from crude oil, which is pumped from under the seabed and refined in refineries in such locations as Norway, Sweden and Germany. Most of the world’s crude oil is used for petrol and other fuels, and only 5% is used for producing plastic. Every 1 kg of plastic requires 2 kg of crude oil. The world has finite amounts of crude oil that cannot be renewed. Creating crude oil underground has taken 10 million to 60 million years.

Glass for bottles is made from fine river sand from such countries as Belgium. This is melted at very high temperature with chalk and soda so that the glass lasts longer. Producing 1 kg of glass requires 1.2 kg of raw materials.