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CINCINNATI -- It may be the end of the coffee can as we know it. The Procter & Gamble Co. here said this week it will begin phasing out the traditional tin coffee can, which has been used by the industry for 150 years, in favor of a new plastic container that doesn't require a can opener and promises to keep ground coffee fresher longer.
The new container has an airtight lid that allows ground coffee to be poured out through a one-way valve that protects the freshness.
P&G reportedly spent several years and several million dollars retooling its New Orleans coffee can plant for the changeover. The plastic cans will begin appearing on store shelves in September, starting with the 39-oz. size. Smaller sizes will be phased in at a later date.
Coffee cans are one of the most widely recycled packaged goods containers, having an afterlife as holders of everything from buttons to paint thinner. "The new container is even better suited for reuse, won't have any jagged metal edges, and goes into the dishwasher," Tonia Hyatt, a Folgers spokeswoman, told the New York Post.
P&G said it expects competitors to develop similar containers, possibly rendering the traditional metal coffee can extinct.