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Metal SUS: the future of sustainable packaging?

Metal sustainable urban systems (SUS) are a new type of packaging that combines metal containers with smart technology and circular design principles. These systems aim to reduce waste, energy consumption, and environmental impact, while enhancing functionality, safety, and aesthetics. They are part of a broader trend towards sustainable packaging, which seeks to minimize the use of non-renewable resources, mitigate climate change, and appeal to conscious consumers.

Metal SUS can take various forms and functions, from reusable bottles and cans to modular crates and pallets. They are made of durable metals such as aluminum, stainless steel, or titanium, that are non-toxic, non-reactive, and infinitely recyclable. They can be easily molded, embossed, or engraved with logos, brands, or designs, to create unique and attractive products. Moreover, they can be fitted with sensors, chips, or QR codes, that allow to track and monitor their location, content, temperature, or quality, ensuring that they are used and reused efficiently and safely.

Metal SUS offer several advantages over traditional packaging materials, such as plastic, glass, or paper. First, they are more resistant to damage, contamination, and theft, reducing the likelihood of product loss or spoilage. Second, they can be sanitized more easily and effectively, eliminating the need for harmful chemicals or hot water. Third, they have a longer lifespan, lower carbon footprint and higher resale value, making them a smart investment for companies and consumers alike. Fourth, they strengthen the circular economy by fostering eco-friendly practices and closing the loop between production and consumption.

Metal SUS are already being used in various industries, such as food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and logistics. For instance, Carlsberg Group, a Danish beer producer, has launched a new sustainability strategy that includes replacing plastic rings with snap packs, made of recyclable fiber and glue, and testing metal bottles that can be reused up to a hundred times. Coca-Cola has also experimented with metal bottles in Europe and Asia, and plans to expand their use in the future. In the meantime, several startups are exploring the potential of metal SUS for other purposes, such as constructing modular houses, creating smart grids, or enhancing public spaces.

Metal SUS are not without challenges, however. They require high initial investment, advanced technology, good logistics, and public acceptance. They also face competition from other sustainable packaging materials, and may not be suitable for certain products, regions, or consumer habits. Therefore, their success depends on a careful balance between innovation, affordability, efficiency, and appeal.

Metal SUS represent a promising step towards a more sustainable and resilient future. They embody the principles of circular economy, innovation, and conscious consumption, and offer a tangible solution to many of the environmental and social issues that afflict our world. They remind us that every small change in our habits or choices can have a big impact on the planet and ourselves.

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