Metal cans have a long history. The first beverage cans were made out of steel, according to Absolute Astronomy. The Coors Brewing Company made the first beer cans from aluminum. The Royal Crown Cola Company was the first to sell sodas, namely R.C. Cola and Diet-Rite Cola, in aluminum cans in 1964, according to Nationmaster.
Aluminum cans are easy to recycle and compared to other metals, they command more money when they are sold to recycling plants. According to The New York Times, of the 80 billion beverage cans that are produced every year, 95 percent of them are made from aluminum. There are some simple ways to know whether a can is made from aluminum or another metal.
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Place a magnet onto a can. If the magnet sticks to the metal, it is not aluminum. The magnet will not stick to aluminum because it is a non-ferrous materials (does not contain iron), according to Green Star Inc.
Hold the can in your hand and feel its weight and durability. Aluminum cans are lighter and easier to crush than steel and other metal cans. An empty can weighs about a half of an ounce. If you can easily crush the can without much pressure, it's likely made of aluminum.
Check the bottom of the can that you are investigating. If it does not have a rim, it is an aluminum can, according to the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection. There are are no seams on the body of an aluminum can, either.
Feel and look at the body of the can. Aluminum cans are shiny and smooth. The labels are usually glued onto steel cans. The labels on aluminum cans are sprayed on most of the time.