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What can be reused and biodegrade? The Eco Can can


March 7, 2011

The Eco Can is a reusable drink container that is 100 percent biodegradable

The Eco Can is a reusable drink container that is 100 percent biodegradable

While Mother Nature would definitely applaud your use of reusable beverage containers instead of merely recyclable ones (or worst yet, disposable ones), there are some situations in which you don't want to be toting that coffee flask you bought at Starbucks. When you're out hiking or biking, for instance, it would be nice to have something that stays sealed when dumped into a bag, and that's compact enough that it doesn't take up a lot of space. Really, what would fit the bill nicely is a canned drink, but that's in a reusable container ... enter the Eco Can. Not only is it reusable, but when the time comes, it's also 100 percent biodegradable.

The Eco Can holds 280 ml of hot or cold liquid, and attempts to keep it at that temperature as long as possible via its thermal double wall construction. The top of the container unscrews for adding liquids and for cleaning, while a very can-like pull tab reveals a "sipping port," just like those on regular beverage-to-go cups.

The container is both dishwasher and microwave safe.

Technically speaking, it's debatable as to whether or not the Eco Can actually qualifies as a can. Although it looks like one, it's made from biodegradable polylactic acid (PLA) plastic. PLA is derived from renewable resources, which can include corn starch, tapioca products, or sugar cane. As is the case with the new PLA Sun Chips bag, when placed in a landfill, it should theoretically break down into carbon dioxide and water.

The Eco Can comes in four colors, and is available online at Firebox for about US$21, plus shipping.

Via OhGizmo

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Looks like they are recycling my cash :)


@Leanne - Chill for a moment while I point out the blatantly obvious...

At $21 each I doubt anyone is going to be chucking these things over their shoulder. In fact, $21 each, I doubt many people will be buying these at all.

Feel better?

Some Guy

Great! it\'s a first time for me, an Editors comment on one of the many wild remarks made by contributors who can\'t be bothered to read an article properly before jumping to [often ungrammatical] conclusions.

More of this please Ed. Ian Colley.


Oh great, so are you advocating that offroading cyclists that don't want to carry their cans out to a recycling drop off or bring it home to wash it and refill it, just throw them out, ie all over the ground in nature because they are 100% biodegradable? I can see how pristine nature (and the city) is going to be with people chucking these screamingly colored cans over their shoulders: "but they're biodegradable!!!". We already have enough problem with this attitude from dog (poop) owners. [We're pretty sure the idea is that people would keep reusing the cans until they wore out or broke, and which point they would be put into a landfill to biodegrade -Ed.]

Leanne Franson

Well, then, Ed., I am confused as to why write: \"you don\'t want to be toting that coffee flask you bought at Starbucks. When you\'re out hiking or biking, for instance, it would be nice to have something that stays sealed when dumped into a bag,...\" What is the difference between toting around the coffee flask and this can? That it remains sealed? So does the thermos (which keeps my coffee hot) that I bought um, 30 yrs ago? and has never been in the middle of biodegrading when I need it. And if it is cool beverages we have resealable containers galore already too. So the only thing I could think was the \"don\'t want to be toting while out doing outdoor sports... this is biodegradable\"...ie, this container you don\'t have to tote, you can just dump it since it isn\'t a waste problem.

Not sure why dumping these into a landfill after reusing for years is better for anything than recycling a reusable container... and keeping it out of the landfill altogether.

Leanne Franson

This can is not biodegradable! Unless it passes ASTM 5511 or ASTM 5526, PLA plastic is not biodegradable in any short period of time in a landfill environment!!! Please be informed, just because the material is made from a renewable resource it does not gaurantee that it will reach biodegradation in any short period of time.


I am wondering why the plastic needs to biodegrade in a short period of time? Are people really going to dig the staff up to see if it\'s still there. Once the stuff is in the ground,forget about it! The actual product seems to be too expensive to succeed. I wonder how many they\'ve manufactured so far. it\'s a shame someone can\'t make an edible cup.


I'd stick with good old aluminium cans. I always take them back home and recycle them at the scrap yard for cash. $21 for a cup is ridiculous, Mother Nature would think we are stupid for wasting Our money. I can get a good reusable coffee cup at walmart for half that price.

Albert Feyen
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