What if an aluminum can was worth more than gold?
What if its ecological impact was extremely heavy?
Although aluminum is very present on the earth’s crust, it is always found combined with other substances and until the mid-19th century it was not possible to extract it pure.
In 1825 Hans Christian Øersred produced small quantities of solid aluminum, but only 25 years later it could be produced in large quantities and purer.
For this reason, up until that time, aluminum was more precious than gold and only important people could afford aluminum jewelry.
Today it is mined in open-cast quarries in Norway and Sweden, not because the mineral from where we extract it, bauxite, is found only there, but because in these places the energy used for extraction is less expensive.
All excavation, crushing and transport operations involve the consumption of large amounts of energy and the production of large quantities of highly polluting waste (red mud) which has long been discharged into rivers or the ocean floor and which today is stored in artificial basins that have given rise to environmental disasters.
Other energy is used for transportation to the places where aluminium is worked.
After a long process, the ready-made cans are put into cartons that are made of pulp originated anywhere, from Sweden or Siberia to the virgin forests of British Columbia. The cans are shipped to a regional distribution warehouse (with other energy) and then to a supermarket where we find them on display and buy them.