Aluminium packaging is light, flexible and easily recyclable. Furthermore, it is hygienic, non-toxic and helps in keeping the aroma of foods. It keeps the food fresh for a long time and provides protection from light, ultraviolet radiation, oils and grease, water vapour, oxygen and microorganisms.
Advantages of Aluminium Packaging
Aluminium packaging offers a high level of corrosion resistance. It provides optimal protection properties by offering an impermeable metal barrier to light, ultra-violet rays, water vapour, oils and fats, oxygen and micro-organisms. When used to package sensitive products such as pharmaceuticals or food, aluminium is hygienic, non-toxic, non-tainting and retaining the product’s flavour. The aluminium barrier also plays the essential role of keeping the contents fresh and protecting them from external influences, thereby guaranteeing a long shelf-life.
Furthermore, aluminium is also by far the lightest ‘complete barrier’ packaging material. For example, a 4.8 g flexible fruit juice pouch with aluminium is 33 times lighter than a traditional bottle and the standard 33 cl aluminium beverage can now only weighs 14 g or less, including lid and opening tab! Where laminates are involved, even the smallest aluminium thickness of 0.006 mm is sometimes enough to provide the required barrier properties. Aluminium leads the way in ‘doing more with less’ for source reduction in packaging. This saves both raw materials costs and energy resources.
Figures published by the European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA) show that demand for aluminium foil continued to increase significantly in 2000.
The total deliveries of aluminium foil (thickness up to 200 microns) by the EAFA roller members increased to 682,000 tonnes in 2000 (1999: 653,000 t), representing a 4.4% growth rate. This growth again exceeded the previous year’s average, when production rates were already at their highest-ever levels. If the ongoing down-gauging process is taken into consideration, the real growth in numbers of packaging and technical applications would be even higher.
The Driving Force for Growth in Aluminium Foil Consumption
The main driving force for the continued growth in 2000 came from European domestic demand. Sales within the EAFA member countries showed a 5% increase. At a total of 582,000 tonnes, this corresponds to an increase of nearly 30,000 tonnes in comparison with 1999.
Exports to "non-EAFA" countries increased slightly by 1.8%, reaching the 100,000-tonne mark for the first time.
Applications for Aluminium Foil
Approximately 75% of European aluminium foil is used for packaging : flexible and semi-rigid, food and pharmaceutical applications while the remaining 25% goes into heat exchangers for cars, air-conditioning, insulation and other technical applications
Deliveries of empty beverage cans in Western and Central/Eastern Europe continued to increase from 33.8 billion cans in 1999 to 35.4 in 2000, representing a growth rate of 4.9%. Central and Eastern Europe experienced a major market growth of 3.8% while Western Europe showed a more modest 2.9% increase.