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% 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 83,051 metric tons globally in 2020 (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. 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 2015, we have increased the amount of waste that is recycled and reused 55%. 


By the end of 2020, 31 of our 73 packaging manufacturing plants worldwide sent zero waste to landfill. Only 7% of the total waste Ball generated in 2020 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% of a plant’s total waste. Ball has continued to identify opportunities to divert filter cakes from the waste stream. Some recent solutions include using filter cakes for alternative daily cover on landfills and as an ingredient in cement kiln processing.