Today more than ever recycling, and in particular the recycling of aluminium cans, makes sound environmental and economic good sense. Aluminium cans, unlike many other forms of soft drinks packaging, can be melted down and endlessly reused with absolutely no loss of quality, in what is known as ‘closed loop’ recycling. The term ‘infinitely recyclable’ was certainly an expression that caught the attention at SUSO when they were selecting their packaging.
Aluminium (of the type found in a SUSO can) has been recycled in the UK since the early twentieth century and the process has long been considered part of the natural life-cycle of the metal. Today it is entirely quantifiable that recycling cans requires 95% less energy than primary production. So the more we recycle the more efficient we become. Added to which recycling cans saves up to 97% on emissions (every tonne of aluminium cans recycled saves 10 tonnes of equivalent CO2) – each can recycled substantially reducing the environmental footprint of the next can. So to be clear an increased recycling rate actually reduces the size of the carbon footprint. Accepting that current market conditions dictate that in the foreseeable future it is likely that SUSO cans will come from primary aluminium (given a shortage of recycled metal sources today) the overwhelming long term recyclability of metal was instrumental in the end choice of SUSO format. However, although a logical choice from an environmental perspective the team at SUSO have always been fully aware of the extra challenge a canned SUSO has to address in the UK market place, particularly in and around schools. There is a history.
“Fizzy? Can’t be good for me. In a can? Just like all the rest I’m sure, full of added sugar and additives, no thank you.” This is the kind of response SUSO occasionally faces when introducing its brand. A response born in large part by the format. Of course when they opted to go with cans they were aware of the history and impending challenge to be overcome. It is here, when engaging customers and consumers, in the face of any caterer or teacher scepticism, that their NO CAN’T DO attitude is most required to educate and inform around the better for you credentials of SUSO and the unique role of the drink in schools.
Edward Hauck, Head of the Education Channel at SUSO tells us “We were always aware of the legacy attached to traditional carbonates as once sold in cans in schools and the potential barrier to purchase that this might represent for SUSO in terms of securing early listings. However, we challenge ourselves to engage our customers and the decision makers in schools in debate around the relative merits of what we offer and I’m pleased to say the logic of our decisions does on balance convince people that SUSO is the right choice as a refreshing better for you fizzy drink, an inspirational brand and a piece of environmentally friendly packaging. It really is about taking the time to talk our customers around our thinking and our motivations and our recent results in this regard suggest we’re delivering an overall relevance and desirability in SUSO.”
To support its roll out in schools SUSO do provide branded recycling bins with an onus on helping schools educate the youth against littering and in favour of recycling. At the heart of the business there is a clear commitment to looking at environmentally supportive initiatives as part of their wider development plans. Today, despite having taken what is clearly the harder path, they are satisfied that the basis of their business proposition is environmentally sound. As Edward tells us with a wry smile “Through our research we were somewhat surprised to discover that it is possible to recycle old aluminium cans back into new cans and be back on the shelf within 60 days. As we move towards an increasingly recycling focused society, these quick turnarounds could be a very good thing when we look at SUSO’s rate of sales in schools today!” For the environment and for the SUSO business today there’s indeed probably ‘Nothing better…’