At Alcoa waste minimisation is one of the greatest opportunities for us to reduce our environmental footprint.

All our operations throughout Australia have dedicated waste management teams, and in 2009 we recycled 45,422 tonnes of waste. Alcoa of Australia’s Victorian operations did particularly well, recycling around 75% of its waste (14,668 tonnes recycled vs 368 tonnes into landfill).

We are also successful at reusing by-products from our smelting and refining processes.

In 2009, 7449 tonnes of spent pot lining (SPL) were recycled. A by-product of the smelting process, SPL is made of carbon and refractory materials. We engaged a contractor to process SPL at our Point Henry operations to produce mineral products and a fuel that has reduced emissions for the cement industry. An extra 242 tonnes of SPL was recycled in 2009 compared with 2008, which was 1727 tonnes more than in 2007.

For further waste management through residue reuse, please read the residue section by clicking on the link to the left.

Reducing Waste to Landfill
Throughout 2009, Alcoa’s WA Operations continued to reduce the amount of waste ending up in landfill, through our waste separation and recycling program at all sites.  Employees are able to separate waste using designated bins for the recycling of plastic (categories 1-7), paper and cardboard, glass, organic waste, gloves, wood, scrap metal, fluorescent tubes and landfill waste. 

In addition, there are programs in place for the recycling of printer toner cartridges, vehicle and domestic batteries, cooking oil, oil filters, transformer oil and mobile phones. 

Pinjarra Worm Farm
As part of our waste management program, we have our very own worm farm located at the Pinjarra Refinery. Each Alcoa site in Western Australia has 'worm farm' bins, with the contents then delivered to the Pinjarra worm farm.

In 2009, 119,344 kilograms of organic waste was recycled, ending up at the worm farm instead of landfill. This organic waste consisted of food scraps, paper towel, shredded paper, lab filter paper, saw dust, oil absorbents and plant propagation waste from our Marrinup Nursery.  Thanks to the worm farm, this waste was composted and used as a soil blend to fertilise the gardens around the Pinjarra Refinery.

The wrigglers at the worm farm are not only turning rubbish into garden fertiliser - but also giving Alcoa the chance to teach young school children, who tour our operations, about a world of new possibilities in our carbon constrained world.

Recycling Transformer Oil
Pinjarra Refinery began recycling transformer oil in 2009. We sent two shipments of oil to a facility in NSW, 9,490L and 6,560L respectively.

This oil was treated to remove any contaminants, and then renewed using a CSIRO developed technique that’s considered environmentally responsible. By putting the oil through this CSIRO process it is able to be reused.

Recyclability of Aluminium
Our Yennora rolled products plant in New South Wales is Australia’s largest recycler of aluminium. In 2009, we recycled around 55,000 tonnes of aluminium.  Recycling aluminium contributes to global sustainability by reducing energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and use of resources.  And, producing new aluminium from recycled aluminium uses only 5% of the energy that would be required to produce the same amount from bauxite.

Recycling just one aluminium can saves enough energy to run a television for three hours. Furthermore, used aluminium cans are recycled and returned to a store shelf as new cans in as few as 60 days.

Aluminium is endlessly recyclable. Since 1886, when aluminium production first began, it is estimated that two-thirds is still in use today.

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