Ball Beverage Packaging India, a leading producer of infinitely recyclable aluminum beverage cans, has announced that it has collected 20 tons (~20,000 kg) of used aluminum beverage cans (UBCs) as part of a six-month recycling pilot project in Bengaluru, Karnataka, on World Cleanup Day. Conducted in collaboration with Recykal, India’s first digital waste-commerce (w-commerce) company, the initiative aims to increase the collection and recycling rate of UBCs in an organized way, thereby improving the livelihood of waste collectors and keeping more valuable aluminum in the supply chain. This pilot project has benefited over 5,000 Bengaluru-based waste collectors by providing them with a steady source of income, as well as increasing the supply of used aluminum to make new cans.
The UBCs were collected from housing developments, apartments, business parks, hotels and restaurants through Recykal’s network of waste collectors. The first consignment of UBCs will be recycled in India to manufacture fresh aluminum cans. Recycling aluminum cans reduces the energy needed for primary metal production by 95 per cent for aluminum and considerably cuts GHG emissions. Soon to be expanded to other parts of the country, the project seeks to demonstrate the impact of aluminum cans in promoting a circular economy that is good for the environment as well as for generating fair employment. This pilot initiative has the potential to touch the lives of one million waste collectors across India.
Commenting on the success of the initiative, Mr. Amit Lahoti, Vice-President and General Manager, Ball Beverage Packaging, India and South-East Asia Region, said “Our pilot project in collaboration with Recykal has confirmed that recycling cans bring robust benefits to both people and the planet. It truly promotes a circular economy by providing livelihood for waste collectors, ensures reuse of natural resources, and ensures that the collected UBCs are recycled and brought back as fresh Cans.”
He further added, “This initiative also reminds citizens that there are many innovative ways in which each one of us can contribute to protecting our planet. Collecting used cans and handing them over to waste collectors is a simple way to start. We will continue to work with Recykal in supporting waste pickers and creating a sustainable world.”
The total amount of UBCs in India is estimated to be around 22,000 tons per annum so there is great scope for this initiative to further contribute to a circular economy in the country.
Mr Afsar Ahmed Mohammed, Director, Recykal, said, “Collection of used aluminum beverage cans has tremendous potential to achieve two goals – financial empowerment of India’s marginalised waste pickers and the streamlining of the waste collection occupation. This pilot project with Ball helped us identify aluminum as a packaging format and how it can contribute towards promoting a circular economy. We are also proud to note that this initiative has substantially contributed in improving the livelihood of the waste pickers. Bengaluru has always been among the early adopters of sustainability approaches, and we are confident that responsible disposal and collection of UBCs would further support the efforts of the administration in providing Bangaloreans with a clean and green city for living.”
Aluminum cans are the world’s most recycled beverage packaging and by keeping them in the circular loop it prevents the need for raw materials, reduce associated energy consumption and minimize CO2 emissions. A 2016 study by ICF International found that the combined greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the transportation and refrigeration of beverages in aluminum cans are lower than those associated with beverages in other materials under the same conditions.