♫ *Blew out my flip-flop
Stepped on a pop-top
Cut my heel, had to cruise on back home… *♫

As the song says, pop-tops could cut you. I remember as a child having to be careful not to step on them at the beach. And there’s a secondary problem: litter. The tabs were also a choking hazard. Two out of those three things opened can-makers and beverage-makers to lawsuits.

Were pull-tabs discontinued for fear of lawsuits? Or was it because of the Environmental Movement? Or is it cheaper to make the tabs that stay on the can? Was the change to the stay-on kind a natural evolution? Or were they actually outlawed in the U.S.?

They aren’t banned in Australia, but I can’t think of any manufacturer that uses them apart from Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, which makes a great ginger beer. This might suggest the rationale is economic.

I always imagined that as being from a 16oz Glass Bottle of Mt Dew.

Pop tops in cans were aluminum, they were steel on the bottles.

One of these things squishes a little easier.

I guess the beach sand could change things a little though. :dubious:

Bundaberg ginger beer is found in the US, with pull tabs. I don’t know if the officially exported ones have the pull or if the one I drank was unofficially brought over. I can’t remember seeing these on any other drinks recently. I doubt they’re “banned.”

Here’s a relevant article, though it doesn’t really give a definitive answer to your question:

Here’s the obligatory Wiki article. It doesn’t state any definitive govt regulations but says it was primarily litter (and choking) that caused the switch.

In regards to the chocking thing, I first saw someone do this when I was in second grade (circa 1973) when my teacher(!) showed us on a field trip. She meant well, not wanting kids to cut their feet on dropped ones, but even as a little kid I was simply aghast at the very idea of dropping the pull tab into your drink. And not just because of the choking hazard but, even more, simply the idea of dropping what is essentially garbage into the can of something you’re drinking just seemed flat-out wrong to me! :smiley:

When I was a kid I used to think it was: “Stepped on a pop tart.”

Our state was one of the first, if not first, to ban them. The littering problem was immense. I remember one bridge over a small river regularly used by fishermen. The number of pull tabs on it was astonishing. Several layers deep in places.

Yup. I remember at the time, the industry fought it but the environmental lobby won.

Ditto for can & bottle deposits, which correlated to a HUGE difference in the cleanliness of public spaces and beaches. Way more than I had expected: I didn’t expect a bottle law to reduce trash, but in Michigan, it sure did. My guess was that once people had a good enough incentive to collect the bottles and cans, it wasn’t much more effort to collect the trash too.

When I was in Hawaii in 1985 it looked just like Michigan before the deposit law. I was traveling on the cheap so met a lot of locals. I mentioned that they should try to pass a bottle law. They were ALL against it, for so many different (and contradictory) reasons. I pointed out that the group that deposit laws helped the most were people who needed money and had spare time, especially in a tourist area: easy income strolling the beach with a plastic bag! Deaf ears. Oh well.

Here in NC (where I’ve lived since 2000) we don’t have deposits, and we don’t seem to have the trash issue that MI had in the late 60’s early 70’s. Again, just guessing, but the law to require recycling plus general increase in environmental awareness causes the majority of people using public property mind their garbage.

I don’t think I ever dropped a pop top into the can before drinking it.

Add that one to kissthisguy.com ! :smiley:

Pretty good site. Am I Right has that too. But I don’t give a flying fig what anyone says, Sting is saying “I’m a pool hall ace” in Every Breath You Take.

I hate the “new” pop tops. I always bend off the opener tab and throw it away. Otherwise it gets in the way of my big mouth from drinking. But the old pull tabs sometimes would be defective and break off and you’d be pretty screwed. Now days if the tab breaks off you can easily punch the can open with a key or even your finger.

I don’t know why they switched, but litter sounds like a good reason to me. Back in the 60’s and 70’s those pull tabs were on the ground freaking everywhere. It truly was ridiculous.

Personally I prefer church-key cans, weather it’s juice or beer. The second hole makes the liquid flow smoothly, and you can make the drink hole as wide as you wish.

Well them toasters were pretty, “Toasty” back then…

We’d probably get ejected by airport security these days with just the “Strudel”(sans toasten).

Do you remember that phase where beer cans had two spots on top that you pushed in with your fingers? That was short-lived, because who wants their bartender sticking his fingers in their beer all night long?

The other big environmental problem with pop-tops, that I didn’t see mentioned above, was that birds and animals often swallowed them with unpleasant results for the critter.

Today, we have a whole new generation of youth who don’t even know what a “church key” is! :smack: See this thread:
Do you know what a church key is? from August, 2010.

I always looked for the pop tops with the slots on the ring on either side of the tab. It was great fun to break the tab apart from the ring, insert one end of the tab into one of the slots, and use the tab as a spring to send the ring spinning away into the air.

Good times.

I think the final statement on pop-tops was made long ago, in one of the early Travis McGee novels. John D. makes the passing observation about picking up a cold one, staring at the pop-top tab, thinking long deep thoughts about progress and the march of civilization, then turning the can over and using the church key on the bottom.

Back in college in the seventies, we would pull off a pop-top from a beer can, hold it up, and say “Look! Purdue University (a rival school to ours) class ring, with built-in nose-picker!”

Yep. I did that.

Whenever I think of one of those, I think of a Mad magazine comic. The gist of it was that you plan an amazing trip to the beach, only to find that no one remembered to bring a church key. Beverage cans without built-in means of getting to the contents are before my time, but those big cans of orange- or tomato juice needed a church key to open.

Remember when you could make tennis ball mortars out of Campbell’s Soup cans? Half of the canned veggies nowadays are in cans with rounded bases (i.e., they’re not identical to the top of the cans) that can’t be opened with a can opener. (SPAM[sup]®[/sup] cans are the same way. I ended up getting a plastic rice mould for musubi.)

It’s been said that, due to their prevalence for only a few decades, very widespread distribution, and virtual indestructibility, pull tabs will become a very useful tool for precisely dating sedimentary layers for future archaeologists, paleontologists, and geologists.:slight_smile:

In elementary school and jr. high, when we had smaller fingers, you could roll the tab around the ring and make yourself a stylish aluminum ring that would only cut you about one time in three, if you did it just right.