Alcoa announced a goal to raise the industry’s used beverage can rate in North America from 52 percent to 75 percent by 2015. “It’s all about capturing this pool of energy before it is lost to the landfill,” said Greg Wittbecker, Alcoa’s Director of Corporate Metal Recycling Strategy. Recycled aluminum required 95 percent less energy to produce and can be recycled many times.
In the US aluminum can market of 1.5 million metric tons per year, only 800,000 tons are being recycled, a drop from the peak recycling rate of 68 percent in 1992. Wittbecker said that some ways to increase that rate include making recycling and collection more convenient, technical improvements for processing coated materials and enhanced commercial alliances across the industry.
Last month, Alcoa began a $22 million investment to expand recycling capacity at its Tennessee Operations by 50 percent. The company also installed a solar power system at its facility in Visalia, California, and was recently short-listed for this year’s Ceres Sustainability Reporting Awards.