Aerosol Cans

Aerosols offer consumers a superior experience both in our homes and outdoors. From food  products to pest control, home spray to hair spray, aerosol products are integrated into numerous aspects of our everyday lives. Today’s aerosols are efficient, environmentally safe, convenient, and recyclable.


Aerosol can manufacturing technology had not changed for several decades, but this changed in 2010 when Ball started working on ReAl®, a revolutionary new aerosol technology that offers multiple economic and environmental advantages (see case study below).
ReAl Aluminum Aerosol Cans
Case Study: Breathing New Air Into Aluminum Aerosol Technology

In 2010, Ball started working on its revolutionary aluminum aerosol technology, ReAl®. ReAl is composed of a metal alloy that exhibits increased strength and allows weight reduction of the container without affecting package integrity. The original ReAl, which replaced the standard aluminum aerosol can and hit store shelves in 2013, included 25 percent recycled material to yield an 11 percent lighter package.

In 2015, Ball continued its aluminum aerosol lightweighting journey with the introduction of an even lighter iteration of ReAl in collaboration with our customer Henkel. This newest iteration is 15 percent lighter than the standard aluminum aerosol can, and—despite the increased alloy strength—Ball successfully developed a container with a deep shape to produce a can with a distinctive shelf presence. These cans were named World Aluminum Aerosol Can by AEROBAL and won Gold at The Canmaker Magazine Cans of the Year Award 2015.

Ball estimates that the 15 percent lighter can reduces the product carbon footprint by 10 percent. When considering the volumes of ReAl cans supplied in 2015, this reduces greenhouse gas emissions equal to the amount a passenger vehicle would cause when traveling around the Earth more than 8,000 times.

Our engineering and innovation teams continue to work on lightweighting opportunities that are compatible with Ball’s existing aerosol can lines.

Customer Perspective

“Henkel’s ambition is to achieve "more with less" and to triple our efficiency in just 20 years. We understand that to have our products deliver more value with a reduced environmental footprint, our partners are key to driving sustainability along our value chain.

Since 2014, the collaboration between Henkel Beauty Care and Ball Corporation on ReAl fit right into our sustainability strategy. Not only did our internal product sustainability assessment indicate early on that ReAl would be a key contributor to our corporate goals, but it also allowed us to reinforce our leadership position by being the first brand to fully commercialize this new technology. Smart packaging solutions like ReAl are fully recyclable, perform better while using the least possible material, and do not sacrifice design or shelf presence.

With the Fa antiperspirant and deodorant relaunch in 2015, we began using the most recent generation of ReAl aerosol cans, yielding packaging that is up to 15 percent lighter. For 150- and 200-milliliter sized cans, Fa’s aerosols are now the lightest available cans on the market. With ReAl, everyone wins – Henkel, Ball and the environment.

We are excited about what we have achieved so far and wanted to recognize that by awarding Ball the “Sustainability Award Beauty Care 2015.” However, we need Ball to continue on that path. We are seeking strategic partnerships that result in innovative solutions and that allow us to develop additional growth potential.”

- Dr. Thomas Förster Corporate Vice President R&D Beauty Care, Henkel AG & Co. KGaA

Dr. Thomas Förster


Weight optimization of our cans contributes significantly to reducing our carbon footprint. The less metal we use per container, the smaller the amount of embedded carbon. We intend to make the lightest possible metal containers while meeting our customers’ performance requirements. Weight optimization is also a key contributor to our customers’ value chain carbon footprint reduction efforts. Weight optimization saves significant metal, costs, energy and emissions when multiplied by the more than 100 billion cans Ball produces each year. Through lightweighting, we reduced aluminum use in our beverage and aluminum aerosol packaging businesses by 7,700 metric tons in 2017, which equates to saving 58,000 metric tons of GHG emissions, or the emissions of 12,400 U.S. passenger vehicles per year.

In 2017, we launched STARcan, a next generation beverage can, which leverages technology and our weight optimization know-how. Initially available in Europe on 33- and 50-centiliter cans, STARcan is Ball’s most metal-efficient can. Together with our customers we can jointly drive toward a new standard of
performance and the achievement of key sustainability objectives. If we were to switch our entire production volume of 33-centiliter and 12-ounce standard cans to the STAR format with a weight well below 10 grams, we would save approximately 30,000 metric tons of metal, or the equivalent to nearly 200,000 metric tons of GHG emissions. We plan to roll out the STARcan in other sizes around the world in the future as well.


Just like any other metal container, aluminum and steel aerosol cans are recyclable. For the last decade, Ball worked with customers and other partners (such as the Consumer Aerosol Products Council in the U.S. or the British Aerosol Manufacturers' Association in the United Kingdom) to promote the collection of empty aerosol cans. While challenges remain with accurate data on recycling rates and consumer access to recycling, we have made significant progress. For example, the U.K.’s consumer education program MetalMatters, which Ball developed and supports, was instrumental in doubling the number of local authorities that accept aerosols in their recycling schemes from 2011 to 2015 and achieves a 96 percent acceptance rate. Also, a 2016 study on access to recycling in the U.S. showed that recycling availability for aluminum aerosol stands at 72 percent, making aerosol cans a widely recyclable container in the U.S.