Ball Corporation signed an agreement with UC Rusal, part of EN+ Group, for the supply of low-carbon aluminum that will be used to produce aerosols and other containers. The aluminum will be manufactured from Rusal’s innovative inert anode technology.
“Aluminum is the perfect material for a circular economy because of its high value, and the fact that it can be recycled endlessly without loss of quality,” said Jason Galley, senior director for Sustainability, Innovation and Business Development, at Ball. “Few people realize that 75% of all the aluminum ever produced in the history of mankind is still in use today. With increasing demand for aluminum packaging around the world, we need to focus on mitigating any environmental, social, and governance (ESG) impacts related to that supply. This is why we collaborate closely with suppliers such as En+ Metals segment to achieve responsible sourcing.”
The aluminum smelting process is known to be carbon intensive. One of the ways to improve the sustainability in primary production is by replacing standard carbon anodes with inert, non-consumable materials, known as inert anodes — which would virtually eliminate the generation of carbon from the production process (although the carbon intensity from electricity generation has to be addressed separately).
Rusal successfully produced aluminum using its proprietary inert anode technology, which has been implemented as an industrial pilot line at its its Krasnoyarsk smelter. According to the company, this technology is able to produce the industry’s lowest carbon footprint: less than 0.01 t CO2e/ t Al (according to Scope 1, Scope 2 – direct and indirect energy emissions). The purity of the aluminum produced is higher than 99%. The company is working to scale up the technology to a commercial level.
“Our partnership with Ball Corporation represents the future possibility of sustainable aluminum products that go beyond our current low carbon capabilities by eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions during production,” stated Steve Hodgson, director of Sales and Marketing at Rusal. “We are particularly excited to compliment Ball’s own sustainability platform and help meet the demands of future generations.”
Ball and Rusal are both members of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI), a multi-stakeholder work program dedicated to enhancing the sustainability in the global aluminum sector by promoting responsible planning, production, and resource management in the aluminum industry.
Ball Announces Sustainability Goals
Ball Corporation recently announced its 2030 sustainability goals focused on enhancing product stewardship and social impact to create value for stakeholders. The goals include a commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions before 2050 and transitioning to 100% renewable electricity by 2030. The company also aims to ensure that all of the aluminum it purchases is from certified sustainable sources.
In addition to its sustainability goals, Ball also shared ‘Toward A Perfect Circle,’ an industry vision that sets out how beverage brands, retailers, and aluminum beverage packaging manufacturers and their suppliers could work together to make aluminum cans, bottles and cups — the world’s most recycled beverage containers — surpass a 90% recycling rate (compared to today’s rate of 69%) and increase the global average recycled content rate to as much as 85%.
To achieve this vision, Ball will drive multi-stakeholder action that includes developing a low-carbon roadmap for the aluminum beverage packaging sector. The company will also advocate for investment in infrastructure and technology to support a more effective and efficient recycling system in the regions where it operates. Ball will work with partners to publish this multi-region recycling roadmap and carbon pathway plan within the next year.
“As a world-leading manufacturer of aluminum beverage packaging, Ball has a responsibility to our stakeholders and the planet to improve the environmental performance, social impact, and economic returns of our business and take a leading role in driving industry-wide solutions to the climate crisis,” said John A. Hayes, chairman and CEO of Ball. “Our customers are seeking low-carbon and truly circular packaging options as they work to fulfill net zero targets and meet growing consumer demand for sustainable products. Infinitely recyclable aluminum cans, cups and bottles are the solution.”
Ball will be engaging with key stakeholders across the aluminum beverage packaging sector, including Novelis and TOMRA, to develop and promote the best methods, policies and actions to achieve a fully circular aluminum beverage packaging system.
“As the world’s largest recycler of aluminum, Novelis is proud to partner with Ball to advance a shared vision for sustainable aluminum beverage packaging and support their efforts to foster more long-term industry collaboration,” said Steve Fisher, CEO of Novelis Inc. “Having recently announced our own ambitious sustainability targets to become a net carbon-neutral company by 2050 or sooner and reduce our carbon footprint 30% by 2026, we are committed to working together with Ball and other members of the value chain to continue to expand the use of lightweight, infinitely recyclable aluminum to achieve a more circular economy.”
José Domingo Berasategui, managing director, GHI, noted, “Today, with our own 4.0 technologies, BeyondAlea®, our aluminum recycling furnaces are already able obtain high metal yields with minimum energy in fully automated plants. As a leading designer and manufacturer of aluminum recycling technologies, we welcome Ball’s circular ambitions and we are ready to support the industry towards the circularity transition towards 2030.”
Chuck Riegle, senior vice president, Governmental Affairs & DRS Compliance, TOMRA Systems ASA, added, “TOMRA’s technologies help to drive deposit return systems by making beverage container redemption easy for consumers, while reducing costs in a shared-mission to achieve more than 90% collection and superior material quality that enables used containers to be turned into new containers over and over again. With the right recycling policies, it is possible to achieve these high levels of circularity. We are pleased to work with Ball and partners across the industry toward greater sustainability in beverage packaging, now and in the future.”