The tin can was patented in 1810 by British merchant Peter Durand, based on experimental food preservation work in glass containers by the French inventor Nicholas Appert the year before. In the late 18th century, the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte offered a prize to anyone who could come up with a new way to preserve food. Traditional methods of preserving food did not keep it edible for long enough to reach the French armies.
The prize was won by Nicolas Appert, who had discovered that heating food to high temperatures inside sealed glass jars stopped it from 'going off. It was then discovered that the process worked as well with tinned iron canisters. These had the advantage of being lighter, easier to seal and less prone to damage during transportation and storage - and so the food can was born. The iron was coated with a fine layer of tin to stop it from rusting. Cans continue to be used mainly by the army and navy. The first cans were expensive, because they were made by hand and a good tinsmith could only manufacture six to ten a day. But in spite of these drawbacks, their convenience was invaluable and unprecedented. The first automated production lines produced around six cans an hour. Today's sophisticated production lines can produce in excess of 1,500 cans a minute.
The early metal beverage can was made out of steel. In the 1930s, after a successful history with storing food, metal cans were used to store beverages. Starting first with beer and then not long after that sodas. Cans were typically formed as cylinders, having a flat top and bottom. These would become known as "punch top" cans, as they required a opener tool referred to as a churchkey, typically a wedge shaped metal cutter that latched onto the top rim for leverage where lifting it by hand would cut a triangular opening at the top edge of the can. In 1959, Ermal Fraze devised a can-opening method that would come to dominate the canned beverage market. His invention was the "pull-tab". This eliminated the need for a separate opener, by attaching an aluminium pull-ring lever with a rivet to a pre-scored wedge-shaped tab section of the can top. It was like having an opener tool built into every can
Aluminium is the third most abundant element comprising about 8% of the Earth's crust. Despite this fact, it was only discovered in 1807 by Sir Humphrey Davy, who originally called it alumium. Davy identified it in alum, but it was not until 1825 when Danish physicist and chemist Hans Christian Ørsted produced the first samples of pure aluminium by heating potassium amalgam with anhydrous aluminium chloride. It was not until the late 1880's when processes were developed that could produce commercial quantities of aluminium. With commercial smelting now a reality and the price of aluminium dropping, aluminium products have become a reality.
Tin cans are heavier than aluminium cans and are more durable. Tin cans are also highly resistant to the corrosive properties of acidic foods, like tomatoes. However, tin cans are less efficient for recycling than aluminium. The money saved from recycling aluminium rather than processing new aluminium is enough to pay to recycle and collect aluminium cans, and is enough to help cover the costs of recycling containers that are more difficult to process, such as plastic and glass.
You begin the recycling process when you set apart your cans, tins and aluminium cans from your household garbage and place it into the Red bags we provide to you for our weekly collection. We combine your cans and tins with cans and tins from other households and sell them to a dealer who, because of the volume of material purchased, often operates out of a storage warehouse. The dealer then sells quantities of cans, tins and aluminium cans to a user. This is where the actual recycling-manufacturing one product into a new product--takes place.