Ball to launch innovative circular economy lab

Brazil’s first circular economy lab, which will centralise the collection and recycling of aluminium cans on the popular touristic destination of Fernando de Noronha, has been unveiled by Ball Corporation.

Named ‘VADELATA for the Planet Lab’, the project intends to improve recycling rates and create innovative collection systems that engage the consumer in the process, aiming at developing a model that others could replicate in other locations.

Construction of the 4,300 square-foot facility broke ground in Fernando de Noronha island last week, with plans to open in 2022. The site will feature four main areas: aluminium can drop-off, preprocessing of aluminium cans, conference rooms for lectures and courses and an exhibition space.

In addition to recycling close to 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.

The cans collected at the lab will be cleaned, pressed and 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, said Ball. 

Commercial and sustainability vice president for Ball Corporation South America, Fauze Villatoro commented: 

“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.”

“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.” 

Known as a leader on sustainable tourism, 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. 

“This partnership with Ball is an important step to our great sustainability vision for the island,” said Fernando de Noronha mayor Guilherme Rocha. “The lab brings a concept that needs to be increasingly disseminated across the country and around the world, combining care for the environment and income generation for the local economy.”

The initiative is in line with the sustainability goals set by Ball last June, including a commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions before 2050 and transitioning to 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2030. 

The Colorado-based canmaker also signed up to the America Is All In (AIAI) campaign last February, pledging to meet the campaign’s target of at least halving their carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.