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Sustainability

Steel – the 100% Sustainable Packaging Choice


  • Approximately 95% of water used in the steel industry is cleaned, cooled and returned to source. Most of the loss is due to evaporation. Water returned to rivers and other sources is often cleaner than when extracted.
  • The energy used to produce a ton of steel has been reduced by 60% in the last 50 years.
  • Over 650 million tons of steel is recycled each year in North America.
  • Gases produced in the steelmaking process are recycled into the system to heat up the furnace, reducing the need for additional energy.
  • The recovery and use of steel industry by-products has reached a worldwide material efficiency rate of 96%.
  • Steel is the main material used in delivering renewable energy: solar, tidal and wind.

Why Choose Steel Packaging?


Because of their beauty and reusability, tins are collected, refilled and displayed in homes and establishments. They are a part of the gift and require no secondary packaging. If a tin ever does make it to a landfill, it can be separated by a magnet. The life cycle of a steel package is infinite and without loss of quality or durability.

Other packaging materials may claim recyclability, but theres is just a temporary life cycle extension with a second life eventually ending in a landfill.

Clean Manufacturing Practices


We at Independent Can diligently commit to a clean, environmentally-conscious operation. We measure and document our efforts in sustainability and recycling. The company’s “Green Committee” was established in March of 2008 with the mission of defining and implementing best practices company-wide. The team put in place a measurable agenda and educated our workforce. We consistently note improvement from year to year in our recycling totals for steel, plastic, aluminum, corrugated, mixed paper and energy efficiency.

We have installed the most energy saving coater ovens in the world. We have also overhauled an existing coater oven allowing for a 20+% increase in through-put and a 30% reduction of energy required utilizing the latest technology and environmental systems. Our printing lines achieve the same vibrant images using less ink. Even more energy is saved with ultraviolet curing. Our facilities are equipped with energy-efficient heating, cooling and motion-activated lighting. Our facility in Ft. Madison, IA also uses geothermal heating.

Metal Recycles Forever

This video by the Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association shows how metal is a permanently available resource, coming back again and again in many different guises, with no loss of quality.

Life Cycle of Steel


  1. Scrap steel is bundled and taken to a recycling center.
  2. It is melted down and the impurities are burned off.
  3. If the steel is destined to become a can again, instead of one of the many other uses for steel, molten steel is poured and rolled into a thin sheet.
  4. It is coated with tin to retard rust and rolled into a coil.
  5. The coil is cut into sheets of steel and the process of can making begins again.

Easy Separation By Magnet


With sorting and separation being the biggest challenges for recyclers dealing with plastics and other items in the waste stream, products made of steel are the grand champions of efficient and inexpensive recycling. The magnetic properties of steel provides for easy separation from other waste. Moreover, the quality of items made with recycled steel is the same as those made with new.

More on Steel Sustainability

If you'd like to learn more about steel sustainability and how it compares to other forms of packaging, be sure to review our comparison fact sheet. You can also download our whitepaper on sustainability for statistics and facts regarding sustainability efforts at Independent Can, the steel and steel can industries and recycling. You can also visit one of the sites listed below.

Independent Can was one of the first companies to be a part of Maryland's registry of green companies.