Ball announces circular economy lab in Brazil

Exterior design of VADELATA for the Planet Lab in Fernando de Noronha. (Image: Ball Corporation)

Ball Corporation has announced plans to create Brazil’s first circular economy lab in Fernando de Noronha, one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations and a leader on sustainable tourism. Named the Vadelata for the Planet Lab, the project will create a model circular economy within the island by centralising the collection and recycling of aluminium cans.

Construction has started on the new facility and it is set to open in 2022.

In addition to recycling almost 100,000 pounds of aluminium in its first year, the lab will serve as a hub for residents and tourists to learn more about how to advance sustainability in their own communities.

“As part of the company’s recently announced 2030 sustainability goals and industry vision for circularity, the innovative Vadelata for the Planet Lab will demonstrate what’s possible when we invest in and prioritise aluminium recycling,” said Fauze Villatoro, commercial and sustainability vice president, Ball Corporation South America.

“The resources within this lab will allow us to create a circular economy that will make a difference in the lives of residents and tourists in Brazil and contribute to a more sustainable planet. By building a more innovative and effective way to collect beverage aluminium cans and educating consumers about the importance of recycling, we can help solve the packaging waste crisis.”

The corporation recently announced 2030 sustainability goals focused on enhancing product stewardship and social impact to create value for stakeholders, together with a vision for how industry partners can collaborate to achieve a fully circular aluminium beverage packaging system.

The lab will support these commitments by helping to improve recycling rates and innovating collection systems that engages the consumer on the process, hopefully creating a model that others can reference around the globe.

The 4,300 square-foot facility will feature four main areas: aluminium can drop-off, preprocessing of aluminium cans, conference rooms for lectures and courses, and exhibition space. When cans arrive at the lab, they’ll be cleaned and pressed before being transported to a nearby Ball manufacturing plant and recycling centre to be turned into new coils for cans. All profits from can scrap sales will be used to pay for the can collection itself and for social and educational projects for the island community. The lab will engage with students and local restaurants to further drive awareness and education about recycling and will also serve as a basis for demonstrating new technologies that support the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy.

Fernando de Noronha was the first Brazilian territory to ban single-use plastics and has been working on the implementation of the Noronha Carbon Neutral Program.

Ball is partnering with the Fernando de Noronha Municipality and Noronha for the Planet Consortium on this project, which is co-sponsored by Novelis, AMA, and Minalba.

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