Material use and waste volumes are important yardsticks in evaluating the efficiency of our processes. Reducing spoilage in our manufacturing processes and recycling all metal production scrap are the most obvious ways that Ball can conserve resources and generate additional revenue. As our business continues to evolve and production volumes grow, our waste strategy remains the same—focus on systematically reducing the amount of waste generated, eliminating waste sent to landfills and increasing recycling rates.

Approximately 87 percent of the total waste generated by Ball is metal manufacturing scrap. All of that scrap is sent back to our suppliers and remelted so it can be reused in new metal applications. Our waste management efforts focused on reducing the remaining waste streams which totaled 72,120 metric tons globally in 2016 (externally verified by ERM Certification and Verification Services).

Data and employee commitment

Because waste classifications and disposal methods vary from country to country, based on legal requirements and local infrastructure, reporting accurate waste data in a timely and consistent way throughout our global operations is a complex task. In cooperation with waste management contractors around the world, we have utilized a standardized waste data collection process globally since 2008. With the acquisition of Rexam, Ball is continuing to refine global waste classifications and further align monthly waste generation and material diversion category reporting for all manufacturing plants.

The monitoring provides insight on where the biggest opportunities exist to reduce waste and divert it from less beneficial streams like landfill and waste-to-energy. We continue to educate our employees about the benefits of recycling, provide a convenient recycling infrastructure in our facilities and cultivate a conservation mindset. Operations leaders and facility management support plant efforts and provide assistance. Since 2012, we have increased the amount of waste that is recycled and reused from 51 to 58 percent.



By the end of 2016, 32 of our 91 packaging manufacturing plants worldwide sent zero waste to landfill—an increase of 10 percent since 2012. Only 15 percent of the total waste Ball generated in 2016 was sent to landfills. Diverting waste from landfills is a challenge in some regions, especially when landfill costs are low or when waste must be shipped over long distances for alternative treatment options. Therefore, our long-term goal is to minimize waste sent to landfill when it is environmentally sound and economically feasible.

Since 2008, we have diverted the filter cake in our operations from landfills. Filter cake accumulates during wastewater filtration and represents the largest waste stream by weight in our aluminum beverage can plants, accounting for up to 60 percent of a plant’s total waste. In 2015, none of the almost 7,275 metric tons of filter cake was sent for landfill disposal in our North American beverage can plants. Ninety-two percent were shipped to beneficial reuse at non-landfill facilities such as digesters, composters and cement kilns. About 575 metric tons of filter cake were sent to the landfill for use as daily cover. We utilize the savings from waste optimization programs to partially offset the additional costs of our landfill diversion efforts.

John Griffiths Welsh Minister of State for the Environment
Government Representative Perspective

"Resource conservation and climate protection are ranked high on the political agenda".

There is an increasing awareness of the resource constraints which all businesses face in the current economic climate. Businesses need to become more resource self-sufficient with more emphasis on preventing waste and increasing recycling. In the long term, we want to ensure that all wastes are seen as a resource. This may involve completely reviewing and redesigning their business models and working methods.

The biggest challenges for businesses will come from the need to change current business models, work with customers to ensure that supply chains become more sustainable and to encourage a move towards longer-life products with emphasis on such things as leasing or refurbishment rather than buying new. Businesses will also need to rethink the types of materials used, and how they are used to enable better design for disassembly and closed loop recycling.
- John Griffiths Welsh Minister of State for the Environment