Thursday, May 5, 2011

Those Aluminum Canisters

For the last couple of years we have gradually been transitioning to aluminum canisters, rather than amber glass, for our bulk essential oil sales.

Recently we've received some negative feedback from people having difficulty opening the canisters. I can WELL understand and sympathize. I remember the first few times I received bulk oils in these aluminum canisters, with plastic inserts (that I couldn't budge) covered with white plastic caps (that I couldn't remove.)

However, after receiving 10 kilos of an imported lavender delivered in a soaked cardboard box, with melted and dissolved packing peanuts, the entire package bagged in a black plastic trash bag, I learned to appreciate the sturdiness and unbreakability of these aluminum canisters.

Glass is fragile; this is the bottom line.  And shipping highly volatile chemicals in glass is at the very least irresponsible.  I know of NO international supplier who ships in glass. Every oil we import comes in these aluminum canisters (in various sizes.)

I asked "T",  our production manager, to take some shots of Vannessa and her opening a recent arrival, and asked that they describe the process they use.

First of all, although the plastic "plug" has a loop that you would think would help in removing...IGNORE the plastic loop.  I guarantee if you try to remove a new lid by pulling on the loop, all you will accomplish is pulling the loop off the plug.  Promise!     T and Vannessa totally ignore the plastic loop, reach for a pair of trusty pliers, and lift as shown:

You can see Vannessa easing the plug out of the bottle in these shots.

However, Vanessa and T are young and strong.  If, by any chance, you are neither, or if you are troubled by arthritis, or for some other reason have trouble grasping the plug with your pliers, there is another solution.

A Screwdriver is NOT just for drinking.  When I can't grasp the plastic plug with my pliers, I take a screwdriver, and work it around bottle top, putting enough pressure to gently raise the plug.  In theory it's possible to totally remove the top just by levering it with the screwdriver, but that takes forever.  I loosen it up just enough to get a firm grip with the pliers.

THEN I grasp with the pliers, as shown above, and:

Please do NOT attempt to store your precious oil in the cannister with the plastic plug removed.  YES it is a tight fit to remove and replace (it does grow easier and softer over time.)  It is also an integral part of the seal.  If you only use the white outer cap your canister will NOT be sealed and the oils WILL spill.  Or be degraded by coming in contact with the air.

These canisters are more difficult to work with than amber bottles. We agree. But the advantages of safety are why they have become industry standard, and why we have adopted them. Hope this explanation makes it a bit easier for you to use them.


Wellness said...

Thanks for sharing on how to open up the aluminium canister!

However, I feel that your method is a bit tedious and will render the plastic insert unusable. If the insert is not destroyed, the oils can be stored well in the aluminium canister. It can withstand most type of essential oils for quite some time.

I am using a method which does not need to use any tool at all to remove the plastic insert. It will not be destroyed and also will not be contaminated! And most importantly, our hands will not be touching the essential oil too! If you are careful, you do not need to use a glove too!

Interested to know how?

Best regards
Alex Quek

Marge said...

Of course we want to know how, if there's a better way, Alex.