The cans themselves don’t present a problem, as aluminium can be recycled infinitely without a loss in quality. About half of the cans consumed in the US are recycled. The problem is the other half – the vast amount of cans that end up in rivers, on sidewalks and in fields. People’s ignorance when it comes to recycling negatively impacts the world environment and human health, resulting in wasted energy and pollution generated from mining and other processes used to produce new aluminium. Single-use containers are admittedly convenient, but the environmental effects are disastrous. Every can thrown in the bin must be replaced with a new can made from virgin materials, which most people neglect to reflect on after lunch or on the bus.
Taiwanese design collective Haoshi has taken it as their mission to solve this sad equation. Working in collaboration with PLA Studio, the team recently released a limited edition of containers. They hope that their concept will replace single-use containers in the future. The can, ironically called Tin Can (even though it’s not metallic) is made of Poly-Lactic Acid (PLA) – a starch material extracted from corn. PLA has the same properties as petroleum plastic, but without the negative effects – it is biodegradable and becomes soil after 180 days in a compost system.