Metal Cans vs Plastic Bottles for Sustainable Packaging - Levapack 

Metal Cans vs Plastic Bottles for Sustainable Packaging

As industries shift towards sustainable practices, packaging materials are under scrutiny. The purpose of sustainable packaging is to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills, lessen greenhouse gas emissions, and preserve natural resources.

This article compares aluminium cans, tin plate containers, and plastic bottles, assessing their applications, advantages, disadvantages, and environmental impact. Learn why metal cans are gaining popularity and how reliable can packaging machine manufacturers are providing eco-friendly solutions.

Aluminium Cans

aluminium cans
Source: iStock

Thinking what are cans made of? Aluminium cans are made from a combination of bauxite, a type of rock, and other minerals. Aluminium cans offer a sustainable packaging option that is increasingly popular in various industries. Have a look at the major pros, cons, and primary applications of aluminium cans below. 

Pros of Aluminium Cans

  • Wondering is aluminium recyclable? Aluminium is highly recyclable, reducing waste in landfills and energy consumption during production. 
  • Aluminium cans recycling can save up to 95% of the energy required to produce new ones.
  • Aluminium’s light weight reduces transportation costs and carbon emissions.
  • The production and cost of recycling aluminium cans are relatively affordable when compared to other packaging materials such as glass.
  • Aluminium cans are strong and resistant to damage, ensuring product protection during transportation and storage.
  • Aluminium bottled water cans can be customized with a variety of printing techniques, making them an excellent marketing tool for brands

Cons of Aluminium Cans

  • Aluminium production can be more expensive than plastic, affecting the overall packaging cost.
  • Aluminium cans are not suitable for carbonated drinks due to their potential for leakage and pressure build-up. 
  • Even though recycling aluminium cans is possible, not all aluminium cans are recycled. 
  • The shape and design of aluminium cans are somewhat limited in comparison to other packaging materials.


Aluminium cans have a wide range of applications. They are commonly used as a packaging material for beverages and food products, including non-carbonated beverages, granules, powders, paste/sauce products, and more. In addition, aluminium cans are also utilized to pack pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. 

Tin Plate Containers

Metal tin cans on white background 3D rendering
Source: iStock

To answer what is tin plate, tin plate cans or containers are prepared from steel coated with a thin layer of tin. Tin plate containers provide an alternative packaging solution that combines the advantages of both metal and plastic. Check out the following sections to know more about the five uses of a tin can, its disadvantages, and its applications. 

Pros of Tin Plate Containers

  • Tin plate containers are robust and durable and protect the inside contents. They are resistant to damage from external forces and can be stacked and transported easily.
  • Tin plate is compatible with various products, including food, cosmetics, and chemical products.
  • Tin containers offer excellent barrier properties, preserving product quality and extending shelf life.
  • Like aluminium, tin plate containers are recyclable, and the metal can be repurposed for a variety of applications, contributing to sustainability goals. 
  • It is possible to print brand logos and designs on tin plate containers, making them an effective marketing tool for businesses.

Cons of Tin Plate Containers

  • Tin plate containers can be more expensive than plastic due to production and material costs.
  • Tin plate is heavier than aluminium, which may impact transportation costs and carbon emissions.
  • Unlike plastic, tin containers are typically limited to cylindrical shapes and a relatively small range of sizes. 
  • Tin plate containers may not provide the same level of barrier properties as other packaging materials like plastic.


When it comes to applications, tin plate containers are utilized for a wide range of products, food and beverage products, industrial products like lubricants and chemicals, household items like paint and glue, etc. 

Plastic Bottles

plastic bottles factory
Source: iStock

Plastic bottles remain a popular packaging choice, but their environmental impact raises concerns. Plastic bottles can be made from various types of plastic. Here are the benefits, drawbacks, and primary applications of plastic bottles that businesses should consider before choosing plastic bottle packaging solutions. 

Pros of Plastic Bottles

  • Plastic bottles are often more affordable compared to other packaging materials like tin and aluminium cans, making them attractive to manufacturers.
  • Unlike aluminium and tin cans, plastic bottles are lightweight, making them easy to transport and handle. 
  • Plastic bottles can accommodate various product types, including carbonated drinks.
  • Plastic bottles can be easily customized with labels and logos, making them an effective marketing tool for businesses.

Cons of Plastic Bottles

  • Plastic bottles are made using non-renewable fossil fuels and take hundreds of years to decompose. 
  • They contribute to plastic pollution in landfills, oceans, and other natural environments.
  • Nearly 450 years are needed to recycle cans and bottles made of plastic and they release harmful chemicals. 
  • In comparison to aluminium or tin cans, plastic bottles are perceived as lower-quality packaging.
  • Chemicals in plastic can leach into products, raising potential health concerns.


Even though there are significant cons of using plastic bottle packaging and the drastic plastic water bottles environmental impact, plastic remains one of the most common packaging materials. Plastic bottles are used for various products, including beverage products, personal care items, and household goods. 

Environmental Impact of Aluminium and Plastic Cans

aluminium cans and plastic cans
Source: iStock

Aluminium cans and plastic cans both have environmental impacts, however, they vary in terms of the type and degree of impact. For producing aluminium cans, a significant quantity of energy and resources are needed like bauxite ore, water, and electricity. Similarly, the production of plastic cans also needs a substantial quantity of energy and resources, including petroleum and natural gas

Coming to the environmental impact of aluminium, aluminium cans are recyclable, and recycling them reduces the need for virgin aluminium, which saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, plastic cans are less commonly recycled than aluminium cans, and recycling them is more difficult because they require specialized recycling facilities. Only 9% of all plastic ever produced is recycled.

Plastic cans cannot be recycled infinitely and can only be recycled a limited number of times before it loses their quality, leading to the creation of more plastic waste. When aluminium and plastic cans are disposed of in landfills, they do not decompose, and they can contribute to the buildup of waste in landfills. In addition to that, plastic can release harmful chemicals into the environment over time and plastic bottle pollution is a serious problem. 

To sum up the plastic, tin can, and aluminium environmental impact, aluminium cans are more environmentally friendly than plastic bottles, as they are recyclable and consume less energy during production. Furthermore, aluminium’s light weight reduces transportation emissions. On the other hand, plastic bottles have a significant environmental impact due to pollution, low recycling rates, and long degradation times. 

Levapack – Packaging Machine Manufacturer for Can Packaging Solution

Levapack Logo
Source: Levapack

With nearly 14 years of industry experience, Levapack is one of the best custom can packaging machine manufacturers. Levapack’s can packaging machines are relatively versatile and eco-friendly. Our team of experts will work with you to understand your business needs and provide the best solution for your packaging process. We have various automated packaging lines that are made using the highest quality materials. 

Can Packaging Machines / Packaging Lines for All Types of Containers

Levapack’s can packaging machines accommodate various container types, including metal cans and plastic bottles, providing flexibility for businesses to choose the most suitable packaging material for their products. In addition to that, we have different packaging lines that are ideal for various businesses and production needs. 

Automation for Productivity Improvement

Levapack’s automatic can packaging machines can handle up to 30 cans per minute, streamlining the packaging process and improving productivity. These machines are ideal for granules, powders, and paste/sauce products. Using our automated packaging lines will help packaging businesses enhance production speed and improve overall productivity. 

Guaranteed Packaging Machine Quality

Levapack ensures high-quality packaging machines that meet industry standards, offering reliability and long-term performance for businesses seeking sustainable packaging solutions. Our can packaging machines are of the best quality and are designed to help businesses increase productivity, reduce labor costs, and minimize errors in the packaging process.


Will metal cans replace plastic containers in packaging? Based on applications and costs, metal cans have advantages in certain areas, while plastic bottles remain a popular choice for some products. However, when considering environmental impact, metal cans, especially aluminium, are a more sustainable option than plastic containers. 

Levapack’s can packaging machines provide versatile and eco-friendly solutions for businesses seeking to reduce their environmental footprint and embrace sustainability. Reach out to Levapack to order custom can packaging machines for your business. We offer a complete range of services, from consultation to installation, training, and after-sales support. 

Related post: Types of Packaging Cans

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