In 2009, in a joint effort, aluminum companies Alcoa and Novelis decided to centralize their aluminum can collection. In 2011, the two companies accumulated 40 billion cans. However this past August, in order to start its own collection program, Novelis split from Alcoa. Both companies are now at war, trying to out-collect the other.
In Novelis’ new program, the company wishes to collect 60 billion cans by 2015. Through a solo program, the company will have full autonomy and be able to increase its aluminum purchases. Novelis also wants to increase its scrap sources to 80% by 2020, which would be a 35% boost.
Alcoa and Novelis are sizably different companies. While Alcoa produces mass quantities of primary aluminum, Novelis only has one smelter located in South America. Novelis largely depends on other companies for its raw aluminum supply, and will now have to become more adaptable in how it obtains scrap metal.
According to the Aluminum Association, “manufacturing cans from recycled aluminum uses 95% less energy than manufacturing them from raw materials.” Alcoa is looking to increase its collection numbers by implementing new technology: vending machines that give cash or credit for Used Beverage Cans (UBC). Alcoa is also looking into increasing the number of recycling bins in large communities, like apartment building and condominium complexes.
While Novelis and Alcoa duel over collection schemes, scrap yards remain the best and biggest cumulative source of UBCs. Scrap yards gather and sell almost 40% of recycled UBCs.
The question to answer: will Novelis’s and Alcoa’s new collection methods positively affect the US’s recycling rate? Although, time will tell , however, we are betting that it will affect positively.
Conceived, Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan
October 25th, 2012
Copyright 2012. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.