For the love of Earth with Crown, Sustainability Leader
Today’s youth care deeply about Mother Nature and creating a more sustainable, climate-friendly world. We’ll visit Crown Holdings to learn more about their beverage can manufacturing process and efforts to curb plastic consumption. The episode will feature actionable takeaways that students can apply to their daily lives to take better care of our planet.
Laurie Hernandez: Hey, there. My name is Laurie Hernandez. I'm an Olympic gold medalist for Team USA, and proud to champion literacy and learning efforts with my friends at KPMG. I'd like to take you all on a little journey, one we can learn from and apply to our own lives, and learn from some special guests from across the country and space.
Seth Curry: Welcome to Philadelphia's home court.
Krystal Joy Brown: Welcome to Broadway.
Leland Melvin: Welcome to the International Space Station.
Laurie Hernandez: Welcome to Costa Mesa.
John Rost: Welcome to Crown Holdings.
Laurie Hernandez: This is KPMG Virtual Field Trips. The planet Earth is home to an incredible array of environments and creatures. The number and variety of plants and animals that exist on Earth is so vast that we'll likely never discover all the types of life that exist. From blue whales under the sea, to snow leopards in the Himalayas, there is so much to learn from what's around us, and all of these things are interconnected. Their actions of one given species will have an effect on countless others.
One particular species has recently seen a large increase in population, and that species is us, humans. And our actions have started to take a serious toll on the health of our planet. As civilization has developed, we have converted vast amounts of Earth's forest to farm land. We've burned a huge amount of fossil fuels, and we've littered a lot of plastic in our environment. Did you know that 46% of waste produced around the world is disposed of unsustainably, enough to completely fill 368,000 Olympic:sized swimming pools?
Plastic has even been found at the top of Mount Everest. This activity has begun to seriously alter the delicate balance of our atmosphere, and has produced the effects of climate change. You hear a lot about climate change, but what does that really mean? Well, by destroying trees and polluting our environment, we are causing the weather to act very strangely. Temperatures, rains, and winds are changing in a way that's destructive to life on Earth. When you hear about the intense weather storms, wildfires, record hurricanes, heat waves, and unusual amounts of rain, these are events that are worsened by climate change. Our planet is facing some severe challenges, and since we caused this problem, we're gonna need to fix it. So what can we do to save the planet?
Today, we're going to the company that makes some of your favorite soda cans and containers, Crown Holdings, Inc. There we'll hear from John, and learn about the work they're doing to curb the negative impact of plastic pollution on our planet. Let's go.
John Rost: Welcome to Crown Holdings. We're proud to be a leader in metal packaging technology on a worldwide scale for well over 100 years. It all started back in 1892, when our founder, William Painter, invented a better way to package soft drinks. He patented the crown cork bottle cap, which could still be in use today on glass bottles. The company was first called Crown Cork and Seal Company of Baltimore. Later on, when World War II broke out, we shifted our production to work products, and developed and manufactured gas mass canisters. Then in 1960, Crown embraced soft drinks by starting to design equipment specifically for meeting the needs of soft drink producers.
Fast forward to the 2000s, where Crown started to prioritize initiatives on sustainability, working on projects to reduce packaging weights, and making them more environmentally friendly. And just last year, we introduced our new Twentyby30 program, and make the build on accomplishments and bring our sustainability performance to the next level. The metal packaging made at Crown is far more Earth-friendly than plastic packaging.
Unlike plastic, metal beverage and food cans are both made from 100% recycled material, which can be recycled over and over again without losing your strength, making them infinitely recyclable. In fact, cans are the most recycled beverage package in the world, with almost 45 billion cans recycled each year in the United States alone. 95% of recycled cans are turned into new cans, and 75% of aluminum ever produced is still in circulation. This process saves so much energy. The energy saved by recycling one beverage can will power a TV for over three hours. The same is true with food cans. A 10-Watt LED light bulb can be powered by the energy saved by recycling just one steel food can. Food cans are also very sustainable, because not only are they infinitely recyclable, they also help prevent food waste.
Did you know that 72 billion pounds of food are lost in the US each year? And canned foods help to offset that waste by helping preserve the quality of the food for a long time in the can. Beyond all the environmental benefits, the efficiency of can production is astounding. Our facility in Nichols, New York alone produces over three billion cans. That's 2,800 cans produced every minute. So next time you find yourself reaching for plastic packaging, think twice.
Laurie Hernandez: Now that we've got some background on Crown Holdings, Inc., let's ask John a few questions.
Krystal Joy Brown: Hey, what does Crown Holdings do?
Joh Rost: Well, at Crown Holdings, we design and create packaging for food, beverage, and hygiene products that we use in our everyday lives. Our main product is metal cans, aluminum and steel cans, but our main product is the aluminum beverage can. It's the can that you drink your sodas, sparkling waters, and beverage from everyday.
Leland Melvin: Hey, what's special about the way Crown Holdings approaches making packaging?
John Rost: Unlike almost every other material, metal can be instantly recycled without losing its strength. The can that you're using today can become another can over and over again. Cans also offer important benefits of product protection and convenience. Metal prevents both light and oxygen from getting into the product, both of which harm the quality of the product, helping to keep the food and beverages safe and fresh, and the material is lightweight, so it's easy to use on the go.
Seth Curry: Hey, John, what makes Crown Holdings Operations more environmentally friendly?
John Rost: To start with, again, our core product is metal packaging, which is highly sustainable by nature, but we've also created a major sustainability program called Twentyby30, which includes various goals in climate, water waste, and much, much more.
Important to our business is our commitment to reducing our impact on the environment by lowering our greenhouse gas emissions by 50% over the next 10 years. We aim to achieve this by sourcing more renewable energy, working on production efficiencies in the factories that we make our drink food cans, and by working on projects to reduce the amount of material we use.
Laurie Hernandez: Hey, what does Crown Holdings do to support sustainability?
John Rost: Sure, to support sustainability, along with our Twentyby30 program goals, we work to create change around important environmental issues that we can affect. We help to educate people where we can show the power of metal. We also help support community efforts to improve recycling of all materials. The biggest impact we can have on sustainability is to ensure that every can we make comes back into production to become another can. In as little as six weeks from the time you put the can in the recycling bin, it can be back on the shelf as a new can. So by making cans with recycled materials, this reduces the energy needed to make cans by as much as 95%.
Seth Curry: Hey, John, what are common misconceptions when it comes to climate change?
John Rost: Well, really, the two biggest misconceptions to climate change that I'm aware of is that number one, that climate change is a far:off problem. In fact, we're already seeing the effects of climate change today. Storms are much more powerful, causing more damage. Some areas are experiencing major flooding, while others are seeing major drought.
These extreme weather conditions come from global warming. So it's important we don't ignore climate change, but the second is that weather and climate are the same. In fact, weather is the condition outside that you're experiencing today, that we live in, but climate is the weather the entire Earth has experienced over a longer period of time. So, they're not the same thing. So if you see a sunny day or a cold day, that's just your weather, but what's happening around the world is what is affecting the climate.
Darnell Abraham: Hey John, what can recycling do to aid in protecting the Earth?
John Rost: What recycling can do to protecting Earth is, here, everything that we make requires materials to make it. And we can either use new materials or recycled materials to make these things. When we take advantage of recycled materials, we reduce the need to generate new materials. Ultimately this helps our environment as we're helping to preserve Earth's limited resources. Recycling more packaging also helps us manufacture with less energy, lowering the amount of harmful greenhouse gases that are released in the atmosphere. Long term, this helps us fight climate change and its damaging effects on the environment.
Leland Melvin: Hey, what can I do to reduce my carbon footprint on the environment?
John Rost: Sure, things that we can do to reduce our carbon footprint on the environment, as one person, we can take small steps, and making small step changes can help create a much larger impact. Being careful to save food and not throw away food unnecessarily is a huge way we can help. Whenever food is created, it takes energy and resources. So not consuming those items entirely means that those energy and resources are spent unnecessarily. It also sends fewer food products to a landfill. And when that food rots, it also creates greenhouse gases. Recycling is incredibly important for the same reasons. You can save energy, help the climate, and limit the amount of items that are going to the landfill. It's important to learn what products can and should be recycled as well, and how to properly recycle them so that it makes it through the system, and has a chance to be used again.
For example, did you know that most communities, if you bag your recyclables, it will go straight to the landfill? So, it's important not to put your recyclables in plastic bags. Remember that you can recycle every metal can that you use at home, in school, and anywhere else. Drink cans, food cans, pet food cans, can all be recycled. Some simple ideas are also to bike and walk whenever possible, so that we reduce the number of cars on the road, and greenhouse gases they release from engines.
Laurie Hernandez: Hey John, can you tell us a bit about the environmental impact of materials we use for packaging?
John Rost: All of these materials use Earth's resources in different ways, from the products we make, the raw metals themselves, come from the Earth's crust, from minerals found in rock. What's neat about metal, once it's been pulled from the Earth's surface, is that it's a permanent material. It can be used over and over again. We call that infinitely recyclable. Being able to reuse and recycle repeatedly means that we save resources and make the best possible use of what we take from the planet. Metal is also super lightweight and durable, which helps us use less energy when we're shipping products to people and businesses. Other materials from products, such as paper and plastic, do not have those same benefits, and cannot be reused and recycled infinitely in the same way that metal can.
Krystal Joy Brown: Hey John, how can we produce renewable energy?
John Rost: So, we produce renewable energy today with three main sources of renewable electricity: solar, wind, and hydro. Now you're probably familiar with the solar system and what that includes, but solar energy, like it sounds, is capturing the energy from the sun and solar panels to make electricity. Wind power is generated by capturing the power of wind in windmills or wind turbines. And when the windmill turns, it also creates renewable electricity. Hydropower similarly captures the power of moving water and turns those generators to create electricity. All of these type of natural energy sources are transformed into electricity we can use to power homes, buildings, factories, and all other structures.
Leland Melvin: Hey, how can I use subjects I'm learning in school right now in a career that focuses on sustainability?
John Rost: Sustainability is a science. It basically involves finding ways to do the things we do better, from improving the way we do things, to completely changing how we do them. Sustainability involves sciences like chemistry, biology, physics, and engineering. All the things you're learning about the environment, about the people, plants, and animals are helpful for a sustainability career. Knowing how our planet works together is a key to finding new ways to protect it.
Laurie Hernandez: Wow, how awesome was it to hear from John about the sustainable work they're doing at Crown Holdings, Inc. with can manufacturing, and creating a more circular industry. Maybe it's got you wanting to take action to reduce our impact on the environment. If you can do your part, you'll help the world and serve as an example to others for how seriously we need to be in the fight against climate change. Best of all, it can be really fun. Here's how to do it at home. First step, be sure you're recycling properly. Only recycle clean bottles, cans, paper, and cardboard. Also, be sure that these items are free of food and liquid and keep plastic bags out of the picture.
In addition to recycling, you can also do your part by organizing a neighborhood cleanup by picking a date and gathering volunteers to join, or ask your teacher if your school has any neighborhood cleanup programs that you can participate in. Just remember to separate the trash that can be recycled from the trash that should go into a landfill. Finally, you can do your part by reducing your use of plastic. There are many ways to do this, but some common ways are to avoid single use plastics such as drinking straws, use reusable cloth bags for grocery shopping, buy food in bulk, and use glass or steel containers instead of plastic containers. The only way to fight climate change is to take action, so be sure to do your part.
Wow, we learned so much today about what we can do to help our planet, and the advantages of metal packing for food and beverage products. Let's take a minute to review in today's takeaways from the day. First off, we learned a bit about climate change, and the threat it poses to life on Earth. Luckily, we can take action now by reducing our use of fossil fuels and plastic. That's where Crown Holdings come in. Their dedication to the production of metal cans is far more sustainable than the use of plastic containers for food and beverage, thanks to metal being totally recyclable. We also learned about ways we can do our part, like recycling properly, organizing a neighborhood cleanup, and by reducing our plastic use. The fight against climate change is going to take all of us, but if we're unified in our cause, we can maintain Earth as a place that's hospitable for all life.
Well, kiddos. This is where I bid you goodbye. But before we say goodbye, let's hear once more from John from Crown Holdings, Inc.
John Rost: I know that sometimes it can be hard to connect the things that you're learning in school with your future plan. A good education is the foundation for limitless possibilities you saw in today's episode. I encourage you to be a lifelong learner. To learn more about KPMG and its commitment to education and lifelong learning, please www.kpmg.us. Until next time.