Hip hip hip hooray!
The drinks can has been around for 80 years. We can hardly imagine the times when you could not retrieve a can of soft drink from a vending machine. Nevertheless, cans were not invented that long ago.
The first cans were consumed in America on January 24th, 1935. For the mathematical wizards among us, this means that the drinks can is 80 years old this year!! A beautiful moment for us to briefly delve into the life path followed by the drinks can. The cans from those days have undergone a serious metamorphosis since then. The first can was actually a beer can that was seven times heavier than the cans we know now. Also, Americans did not know the pull-tab in those days, so the drinks can had to be opened with a special sharp object. Not very practical.
In 1966 Ermal Fraze came up with the solution: a tab with which the beer could be opened (the system is still in use today). Nowadays it is not just beer that is drunk from cans, but cans worldwide are consumed with countless types of drinks, and they are very popular. In fact they are more popular than ever. In 2014 no less than 63 billion cans were consumed, equivalent to an average of approximately 84 cans per European.
Drinks cans continue to be innovated. Over the years wider openings and re-sealable caps were figured out, in order to make the cans even more user-friendly. Due to new printing techniques it became possible to apply UV ink and thermal ink with which depth and relief could be created on the cans. Cans are getting lighter and lighter, the walls thinner and materials are being adapted to the shape possibilities and for instance, to make it more environmentally aware.
Some versions have even been developed where one can see on the outside of the can if the drink is at the right temperature. Where will the possibilities take us? There is hardly anything new left to devise to make the drinks can even more innovative and user-friendly... or is there?
Recycling saves 95% of the energy used in the production of new cans. In the meantime the Netherlands re-uses 93% of all cans.