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Beer in Cans or Bottles - Which is Better?

Matt Bradbury | April 16th, 2014

Nothing beats a nice, cold beer on a hot summer’s day – add a patio, dock or backyard into that equation and you have a trifecta of true beauty.


While the thought of being an environmentally conscious beer drinker might not be something that passes through your mind when guzzling down your favorite brew, you’d be happy to know that the beer industry does a good job at being environmentally friendly–thanks to return policies.

When it comes to the question of beer in glass bottles or cans, “what does beer taste better in?” is often the main topic of this discussion–important question nonetheless–but which is better for the environment?

Let’s look at the pros and cons of both before we jump–or stumble–to conclusions.

Below are a couple of tables that will break down the pros and cons of beer in cans and beer in

Beer in Cans

Curbside Collection
  • Delicious
  • Beer gets cold quicker
  • Aluminum is lighter easier to transport in higher quantities, leaving a smaller carbon footprint.
  • Cans have highest recycled content of any beverage container (68%)
  • Making a can out of recycled content takes 95% less energy.
  • Beer temperature rises faster in cans
  • Aluminum is made from Bauxite – which takes a lot of effort to extract from the earth.
  • Takes much more effort to make in the first place
  • Protective metal lining contains BPAs which can leak into the beer.

Beer in Bottles

Curbside Collection
  • Also delicious
  • Beer stays colder for longer
  • Less effort and environmental damage is needed to extract Silica from the earth.
  • Beer takes longer to cool down in the fridge
  • Comes with a paper label – paper has a lot of water content
  • Much heavier to transport (and carry) – higher transport emissions.
  • Requires more energy to recycle.

Both have their pros and cons, but when it comes down to it recycling 100 beer bottles requires more energy than recycling 100 aluminum cans. However, making aluminum cans take a lot more energy and earth damaging processes’ compared to glass, so much so, that it outweighs all the other pros of recycling and transporting cans.

So the environmentally friendly winner is….GLASS BOTTLES!

Curbside Collection

If you really want to be the ultimate “green” beer drinker (putting green food coloring in your beer doesn’t count) – having a pint from a local brewery at a local pub is your best bet! With the explosion of micro-breweries in Canada and the United States in the past few years, this is easier to do now than ever before.


Matt Bradbury

Inbound Marketing Specialist

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