November 15, 2013

Alcoa Foundation Celebrates America Recycles Day

As Alcoa Foundation partner Keep America Beautiful hosts America Recycles Day on November 15, Alcoa and the aluminum industry continue efforts to increase U.S. can recycling rates to 75% by 2015.
In October, the U.S. can recycling rate increased to 67%, the highest in 20 years and twice the recycling rate of any other package. This is good news, but consumers are still throwing away almost half of the beverage cans consumed in the United States. The low recycling rate has staggering financial and environmental implications including: millions of dollars spend on landfills, billions of dollars lost from residual value of scrap, and missed opportunities to create green jobs.
Alcoa Foundation has developed several recycling programs to raise awareness about the importance of recycling, giving more than $2.5 million to nonprofit organizations over the last two years. These initiatives complement Alcoa Recycling’s broader strategy to increase the aluminum can’s recycling rate.

  • By providing tools, resources, and best practices, Recycling at Work is designed to encourage businesses, organizations and institutions to increase workplace recycling. Take the pledge.

  • The Ad Council, Keep America Beautiful and several corporate partners launched a I Want to Be Recycled national awareness campaign to encourage recycling by providing tools on how to recycle while motivating people and transforming recycling into a daily social norm.

  • In partnership with Pennsylvania Resources Council, Cans For Pets encourages the recycling of aluminum pet food cans. The program launched in Evansville, IN, Knoxville, TN and Pittsburgh, PA. At least 8,000 pounds have been collected and all proceeds from the $.5 deposit bill are donated to local animal shelters.

  • With New York City, Times Square Alliance and Big Belly Solar, Alcoa Foundation is funding 30 waste and recycling units in Times Square for two years. The bins channel solar energy to condense garbage and hold five times the capacity of traditional sidewalk receptacles. The added capacity reduces transportation and labor costs, while effectively curbing greenhouse gas emissions by 80%. The program will expand to Cleveland, Pittsburgh, San Antonio and Charleston in 2014.

  • Through an innovative approach to waste management, the 38 million people who visit Central Park each year have access to 750 iconic, infinitely recyclable waste and recycling containers. Using material donated by Alcoa, Central Park Conservancy and Landor Associates designed the receptacles, which will serve as a model for other urban parks worldwide.

Beth Schmitt, director of recycling programs for Alcoa Recycling, said that in addition to increasing consumer outreach and infrastructure, a key prong in Alcoa’s strategy is to support pro-recycling policies at the state level.
“This year, we were successful in supporting positive legislative change in Tennessee and Indiana, and we have an opportunity to build on that success in 2014,” said Schmitt.
According to Alcoa Recycling, there are still 41 billion cans going into U.S. landfills. That’s worth $900 million and is equivalent to the output of two mid-sized smelters buried every year. But we are making headway to convince policy makers and consumers that cans aren’t trash – they’re energy. 

About Alcoa
Alcoa is the world’s leading producer of primary and fabricated aluminum, as well as the world’s largest miner of bauxite and refiner of alumina. In addition to inventing the modern-day aluminum industry, Alcoa innovation has been behind major milestones in the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial transportation, consumer electronics, and industrial markets over the past 125 years. Among the solutions Alcoa markets are flat-rolled products, hard alloy extrusions, and forgings, as well as Alcoa® wheels, fastening systems, precision and investment castings, and building systems in addition to its expertise in other light metals such as titanium and nickel-based super alloys. Sustainability is an integral part of Alcoa’s operating practices and the product design and engineering it provides to customers. Alcoa has been a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for 12 consecutive years and approximately 75 percent of all of the aluminum ever produced since 1888 is still in active use today. Alcoa employs approximately 61,000 people in 30 countries across the world. For more information, visit, follow @Alcoa on Twitter at, and follow Alcoa on Facebook

About Alcoa Foundation
Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately $460 million. Founded 60 years ago, Alcoa Foundation has invested more than $570 million since 1952. In 2012, Alcoa Foundation contributed more than $21 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, building innovative partnerships to improve the environment and educate tomorrow’s leaders for careers in manufacturing and engineering. The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by Alcoa’s thousands of employee volunteers who share their talents and time to make a difference in the communities where Alcoa operates. Through the Company’s signature Month of Service program, in 2012, a record 60 percent of Alcoa employees took part in more than 1,050 events across 24 countries, benefiting more than 450,000 people and 2,050 nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit and follow @AlcoaFoundation on Twitter.