Case Studies

These case studies illustrate how Alcoa is acting upon its commitment to sustainable development throughout the world. We are pleased with this progress, but look forward to achieving even more.

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2007 — Environment

A new life for by-products

The Bécancour smelter has always thought that the waste it generates can be reused.  This belief has been held since plant start-up, as was apparent from its early purchase of a building to store process wastes until a new use or recycling solutions could be found.
Concerted efforts were made to find these solutions, but it was not as easy as they thought.  At one point, up to 15,000 metric tons of by-product had accumulated in storage.  In 2000, the plan had been to dispose of 12,000 tons of the material over a period of five years.  The 2004 labour conflict and the restarting of operations in 2005 delayed the implementation of the initial plan.  Refusing to be discouraged, the project team persevered and remained convinced that they would succeed.
And they were right!  At the beginning of 2007, the plant was able to empty the storage unit and recycle over 80% of the waste.  The environmental benefits were significant, as were the cost savings.