Ocean Protection, Partner Spotlight
November 27 2018

Yachak Yerba Mate Makes Strides Towards Sustainability

Since Yachak Yerba Mate's inception, a goal at the heart of the company has been "to protect endangered species and the environment." Their efforts include packaging products in recyclable aluminum cans; seeking and achieving Fair Trade, Non-GMO, and USDA Organic certifications; and upholding and expanding their give-back initiative. Yachak not only aligns with our mission  through their easily recyclable aluminum product packaging and certified Fair Trade supply chain, but the company has also fueled Surfrider activists at beach cleanups and crucial awareness-raising events across the country with their organic Yerba Mate, in addition to the generous financial contribution they've made to support Surfrider on a national scale.

To explain the benefits of choosing recyclable aluminum to package Yachak Yerba Mate, we went straight to the source: Yachak's can provider and industry leader in aluminum packaging production, Ball Corporation. Ball's website breaks down the sustainability discrepancy between aluminum cans and their plastic and glass bottle counterparts in terms of production, transportation, and recyclability, as outlined below.

Aluminum cans are produced with naturally abundant materials, and are completely and infinitely recyclable

The earth’s crust consists of approximately eight percent aluminum, making it the third most common element on the planet. Beyond its natural abundance, because aluminum is completely and infinitely recyclable with no loss of quality, it can be reused in a variety of applications to become new products again and again. According to the Aluminum Association, nearly 75 percent of all aluminum ever produced is still in use today! In contrast, as of 2015 only about 9 percent of plastic waste generated had been recycled, while 79 percent accumulated in landfills or the natural environment (the remaining 12 percent having been incinerated). 

Closing the material loop by recycling, aluminum saves precious natural resources and reduces energy use and emissions. To put the savings into perspective, 90 percent of the energy needed to make aluminum from scratch is saved in producing cans with recycled aluminum, and the energy saved from recycling just one aluminum can is enough to run an LCD television for about two hours!

During transport, cans are stackable and have a high cubic efficiency

Almost three times as many twelve-ounce cans can be transported in a standard semi-trailer, as compared to twelve-ounce glass bottles, meaning that far less fuel can be used to transport the same number of units, producing fewer emissions. Cans are also lightweight, shatter-proof and provide superior product protection, making it easier prevent accidental waste during transportation and storage.

Aluminum cans are the most recycled beverage containers in the world

Aluminum cans can be easily separated from other substrates in the waste stream via eddy current technology. Approximately 70 percent of all aluminum cans are recycled globally, making the can the world’s most recycled beverage packaging product. While the US recycling industry has a lot of room for improvement, the nation’s 2015 recycling rate for aluminum beverage cans was nearly double that year’s recycling rate for plastic bottles (55 percent compared to 31 percent).

Thanks to the recycling infrastructure in place, the incredible community members who responsibly sort and recycle their waste, and Surfrider volunteers who remove and recycle improperly discarded aluminum from our beaches– a recycled aluminum package can be back on the store shelf in as little as 60 days!

While we encourage reusable containers in all possible circumstances, we appreciate the steps that companies like Yachak are taking to minimize their environmental footprint. The tradition of Yerba Mate is to share it as a group activity: hot water is mixed with mate in a gourd, and then passed around a circle of friends. Thanks to their commitment to protecting our ocean, waves and beaches, we are stoked to welcome Yachak into our circle.