Plastic 2-Liter Soda bottles vs aluminum cans

ragtimegal(9 CA 19)February 10, 2009

Hi everyone!

I was just at the grocery store and found myself in a I buy the plastic 2-Liter bottle of soda to pour in my own glasses, therefore reducing waste, OR buy the aluminum cans, which are recyclable? I am relatively new to the 'going green' lifestyle, and I am not sure which one overall is better. My instincts said the 2-Liter bottle- less to produce, so in theory, less energy used, less to recycle, etc. However, I have not looked into the actual process of recycling plastic vs aluminum, so I was not sure which was actually better/more efficient.

Am I getting to nit-picky here? My teenager thinks I have lost my mind.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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Hi Ragtimegal. I have nothing intelligent to say about whether you should use cans or plastic bottles. I don't know which is better.
I do have another suggestion, though. And I hope I can make it without coming off as judgemental, or officious.
If the product being offered is in a plastic bottle or an aluminum can, why buy it? Substitute juice, tea, iced tea, hot chocolate, chocolate milk, water, lemonade, coffee or any cold drink you can make up easily at home.
This will save your time, money and having to make a difficult choice.
And yes, your teenager will sulk. But if the plan works, your teenager will inherit your way of doing things, and, your choice will continue to be green into the future.
Eschew both.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 6:50PM
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ragtimegal(9 CA 19)

Ah...but I'M the problem!! I love Diet Coke and soda water. I crave the carbonation. I already buy mixes for the kids...I suppose I'm not leading by example very well, am I?? I go off of them in spurts, but I'm off the wagon right now.

I don't think it judgmental of you at all to have suggested that, and perhaps I can give another go at abstaining from them. Perhaps if I look at it as more of a lifestyle choice than something I 'have' to do it might make it easier.

Thanks for the suggestion!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 9:41PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Both the plastic and aluminum are recyclable - are you asking which recycling process is more efficient, the plastic or aluminum? If so, I can't help, lol.

I never thought of it, to be honest. I don't drink soda, but I do buy juice, and usually in the plastic bottles. Well, now that I think of it, juice doesn't usually come in individual cans anyway. However, I have to admit that I never stopped to think which was recycled more efficiently. I just thought hey, it's recyclable. I commend you for taking it a step further. Sorry I can't be of more help. Maybe below will have some info we can all use.


Here is a link that might be useful: google search

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 5:43PM
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I think the plastic is preferable, because

(a) there's more soda in the package and therefore less packaging overall,

(b) the manufacture of aluminum is notoriously toxic, and

(c) the aluminum is far heavier, so it uses much more energy to ship it to your location.

Given ninamarie's suggestion, I saw a product you might be interested in, where you could make up your own cola at home. No evil preservatives, no shipping, no packaging!


Here is a link that might be useful: Sodastream

    Bookmark   February 13, 2009 at 5:57PM
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ragtimegal(9 CA 19)

Thanks, Matt! That looks like an awesome product!! I can give up the diet soda enough to only have it occasionally, but usually drink tons of soda water in its place. I could make my own with this and rarely buy plastic or aluminum...woo hoo!

Dee- Thanks for the google search info! I'm definitely going to read up on that.

:o )

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 12:16AM
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Under very, very few circumstances would it be more energy efficient or cost effective to recycle plastic bottles than aluminum cans.

I use a lot of plastic bottles for gardening experiments, so I don't mind drinking the 2 liter bottles as much.

At work I drink from cans.

I also find that the 2 liter bottles of generic soda are much cheaper than I can get any cans.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 10:24PM
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Check out the winter sowing forums.... I'd stick with the plastic 2 litre bottles..

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 9:32AM
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rj_hythloday(8A VA)

Strictly recycling, aluminum is easier to recycle than plastic. The second R is reuse, I have many uses for the plastic bottles. I don't drink soda, but my wife does, I buy her the 2 liters when I go to the store, they are alot cheaper than cans too.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 12:00PM
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From what I understand, aluminum is endlessly recyclable. Plastic can only be recycled a few times, and I don't believe it can ever be recycled into food grade plastic again. Also, the plastic label cannot be recycled.

Shipping-wise, plastic is lighter, but aluminum uses more available space. They are both round, but plastic bottles are wasting space at the top where they dome in, as well as the space taken up by the stackable plastic shipping pieces. I don't know which allows for more fuel efficiency: less empty space resulting in more liquid shipped per truckload, or lighter containers resulting in less fuel needed for propulsion.

I can't think of many ways to reuse aluminum cans, and can only think of a few for the plastic bottles. Any uses for either will last a long time, which means you won't be doing much in the reuse section of the 3 R's.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 8:36PM
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The clear deciding factor for me is "Which is cheaper"?

As far as aluminum cans, I have a little can smasher and save all my cans until I have a half dozen repurposed 55lb. dog food bags full and then take them to the reclaimation center where I trade them for about $40.00 with which I can go buy some more mmmbeer ... in cans, of course!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 1:39PM
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This topic has taken into account any health variations of the human body. Though the decay of aluminum is said to cause Alzheimers, the use of cans for recycling seems to be cheaper than using plastic bottles by fluid ounce of product depending on the price of scrap aluminum, but the decay of plastic into the drink has many unknowns currently and increases. If you are going green you have not included the toll on the body cans or plastic takes as to which one it takes more body processes to remove the toxins from either product, and would take more energy from the body and intake of various products to remove one toxin as opposed to the other, but which one? But by actual price of soda at .5 dollars per scrap aluminum pound cans are slightly cheaper, why is there no bulk rate for the caffe/sugar at local store?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 1:42AM
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" Though the decay of aluminum is said to cause Alzheimers"

There's absolutely no evidence that aluminum exposure causes Alzheimers. None.

Yes, generally Alzheimers patients have aluminum deposits in the brain, but that does not mean that the aluminum is a cause. Its most likely a symptom.

On topic, I make little SWC/SIP out of soda bottles, and plant herbs in them.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 10:24AM
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