Macro view of soda cans

According to a recycling fact sheet on the San Jose State University website, we use more than 80 billion aluminum soda cans every year. This unprecedented amount of soda production requires manufacturers to carefully monitor the storage of their trademarked beverages. To give their customers the freshest carbonated drinks possible, soda companies print date codes on the individual cans. There is no federal mandate for placing date codes or expiration dates on cans, but companies recommend drinking the sodas before the printed expiration date.

Turn the soda can upside down without excessively shaking the can. Look for two lines of text printed on the can. The top line will only be numbers. The bottom line will be a combination of letters and numbers.

Read the top line of the text. The first two numbers refers to the month. For example, if the numbers say 10, the product manufacturing month was October.

Look at the second set of numbers on the top line. This is a three-digit number. This number lists the day of the year the product was manufactured. For examples, 115 means the soda’s manufacturing date was the 115th day of the year.

Read the last group of numbers at the end of the row. This group may be 1 or 2 numbers. This number indicates the year of production. For example, a soda produced in 2012 reads 12.