Are cans recyclable

When it comes to corn, chickpeas or tomato strains, you can choose between different packaging options in the supermarket. But which is the better choice, tin or glass?

The sobering answer: neither. A composite cardboard would be the most ecologically beneficial, as the Heidelberg Ifeu Institute found out in 2013. Although the client of the study was a large manufacturer of precisely this type of packaging, the result is plausible: metal cans are very energy-intensive to manufacture. And unlike beverage packaging, there is no reusable system for glasses. It can be recycled and melted down, but this process is also energy-intensive. The Federal Environment Agency also classifies single-use glass as the most environmentally harmful packaging.

But what if the supermarket only has corn in cans or jars? "In most of the environmental impact categories, the typical tinplate can examined shows slightly lower environmental impacts than the non-returnable glass packaging," says Frank Wellenreuther from the Ifeu Institute. However, the inside of the cans are coated with epoxy paint to protect the metal from corrosion. These plastics contain the controversial, estrogen-like chemical bisphenol A (BPA), which can also migrate into food. A few years ago, when Swedish journalists tried to eat themselves only from cans for two days, the BPA levels in their urine rose by more than 4,000 percent.

The EU has banned BPA in the manufacture of plastic baby bottles. The difficult-to-impress Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) nevertheless sees no cause for concern. Everyone else prefers to grab a glass.