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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France - 2008

Alcoa Facilities in France Reduce Emissions, Waste


In an effort to meet Alcoa's global environmental goals, three Alcoa Fastening System (AFS) facilities in France are using technology, processes, and the engagement of their people to reduce emissions and waste.

The Us facility focused its efforts on reducing emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from solvents used for plating, painting, and lubricating activities. After establishing a goal of reducing the quantity of solvents it uses by 50%, Us reengineered its processes using quality and Alcoa Business System initiatives, resulting in a 74% reduction in VOC emissions. The plant's next step is to implement a water-based painting and lubrication process.

At the AFS facility in Saint Cosme, a major waste stream is alkaline waste, which consists mainly of oily and greasy water used for cleaning and degreasing activities. This waste historically was stored in containers at the plant until removed by an external subcontractor.

In 2007, the facility installed an onsite alkaline waste treatment facility that was engineered by the location's environment, health, and safety department and implemented by the maintenance department. Initial results include a 36% reduction in alkaline waste volume on an annual basis and an annual cost savings of US$160,000. The initiative also reduced the number of tanker trucks hauling the waste from 100 to just 10 annually, reducing potential environmental risks.

As next steps, St. Cosme is installing a piping system to reuse the treated water for activities like washing floors. In addition, the facility may use surplus heat from the process to heat selective parts of the building.

Generating an average of 85 tons of solid waste annually, the AFS Toulouse facility had multiple waste collection and storage areas that often were not clearly labeled. In 2007, the facility initiated a waste management system that would:

  • Improve ease of use, involve employees, and reduce ergonomic risks;
  • Improve storage conditions; and
  • Optimize costs and resources related to waste management.

Toulous created a covered central collection and storage area for various waste streams supported by satellite areas throughout the facility. Employees were then trained in the standard collection and handling system.

Initial results include improved waste sorting efficiency, reduced leakage from storage areas, fewer ergonomic risks, and reduced transportation costs due to adequate storage space available onsite.