The soft drink is American, but the aluminum can housing is anything but. That’s because the United States is 99 percent import-dependent on aluminum. Almost all of the stuff comes from nations to the south, particularly Australia, Jamaica, and Brazil.
Although aluminum is still a very important metal today, it’s not nearly as valuable as it once was. While the Earth’s crust contains more aluminum than any other metal, it’s not commonly found in pure form and must be extracted from ores like bauxite.
Before electrolysis was developed as an inexpensive way to elicit pure aluminum from mineral combinations, aluminum was difficult and expensive to produce. That’s why, for instance, the top part of the Washington Memorial was covered with aluminum; it was considered a valuable metal (on par with silver, per one source) when that structure was finished in 1888.