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Ball to Develop Brazil’s First Circular Economy Lab

Exterior design of VADELATA for the Planet Lab in Fernando de Noronha. (Credit: Ball Corporation)
Exterior design of Vadelata for the Planet Lab to be constructed in Fernando de Noronha. (Source: Ball.)

Ball Corporation plans to create a circular economy lab in Fernando de Noronha, Brazil — one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations and a leader in sustainable tourism. The first of its kind in Brazil, the “Vadelata for the Planet Lab” will create a model circular economy within the island by centralizing the collection and recycling of aluminum cans. In addition to recycling close to 100,000 lbs of aluminum in its first year alone, the lab will serve as a hub for residents and tourists to learn more about how to advance sustainability in their own communities.

“As part of the company’s recently announced 2030 sustainability goals and industry vision for circularity, the innovative Vadelata for the Planet Lab will demonstrate what’s possible when we invest in and prioritize aluminum recycling,” said Fauze Villatoro, vice president of Commercial and Sustainability, Ball Corporation South America. “The resources within this lab will allow us to create a circular economy that will make a difference in the lives of residents and tourists in Brazil and contribute to a more sustainable planet. By building a more innovative and effective way to collect beverage aluminum cans and educating consumers about the importance of recycling, we can help solve the packaging waste crisis.”

The Vadelata for the Planet Lab will support Ball in its commitment towards its 2030 sustainability goals, which include a focus on enhancing product stewardship and social impact to create value for stakeholders, as well as shaping a vision for how industry partners can collaborate to achieve a fully circular aluminum beverage packaging system. The new, state-of-the-art lab will work to help improve recycling rates and develop innovative collection systems that engage the consumer on the process, hopefully creating a model that others can reference around the globe.

The 4,300 sq ft facility will feature four main areas: aluminum can drop-off, preprocessing of aluminum cans, conference rooms for lectures and courses, and an exhibition space. When cans arrive at the lab, they’ll be cleaned and pressed before being transported to a nearby Ball manufacturing plant and recycling center to be turned into new coils for cans. All profits from can scrap sales will be used to pay for the can collection itself and for social and educational projects for the island community.

Interior design of VADELATA for the Planet Lab in Fernando de Noronha. (Credit: Ball Corporation)
Rendering of the planned interior design of Vadelata for the Planet Lab. (Source: Ball)

In addition, the lab will engage with students and local restaurants to further drive awareness and education about recycling. It will also serve as a basis for demonstrating new technologies that support the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy.

Ball is partnering with the Fernando de Noronha Municipality and Noronha for the Planet Consortium on this project, which is also co-sponsored by Novelis, AMA, and Minalba. Fernando de Noronha was the first Brazilian territory to ban single-use plastics and has been working on the implementation of the Noronha Carbon Neutral Program.

“This partnership with Ball is an important step to our great sustainability vision for the island,” said Guilherme Rocha, mayor of Fernando de Noronha. “By hosting the first circular economy laboratory in Brazil, Noronha reaffirms its commitment to the environment, a priority of the state government. The lab brings a concept that needs to be increasingly disseminated across the country and around the world, combining care for the environment and income generation for the local economy.”

Ball broke ground on the construction of the new lab, which the company expects to open in 2022.

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