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Novelis offers high-recycled-content aluminum sheet

Keywords: Tags  Novelis, Philip Martens, beverage can, evercan, recycled aluminum, Cornell University, Stuart Hart, Forum for the Future Jonathon Porritt

CHICAGO — Novelis Inc.’s new high-recycled-content aluminum sheet product for the beverage can market is commercially available in North America and Europe, and will be accessible worldwide later in 2013, the company said May 2.

Dubbed the Novelis "evercan," the product should allow beverage companies to offer standard 12-ounce aluminum cans made from a minimum of 70-percent recycled content, including 90-percent recycled aluminum in the cans’ body sheet, Novelis said.

"This is an important step toward delivering on our ultimate vision of an aluminum can with up to 100-percent recycled content," Novelis president and chief executive officer Philip Martens said in a statement. The evercan represents "tremendous progress in sustainable consumer products packaging," he added.

"Novelis’ launch of the evercan is an important part of its larger strategy to delink the production of aluminum from greenhouse-gas-intensive bauxite mining and primary aluminum production," Stuart L. Hall, a Cornell University management professor who specializes in sustainable global enterprise, said in a statement.

"The benefits of using recycled rather than prime-based aluminum are well understood, and for Novelis to be able to guarantee 90-percent-recycled-content beverage can body sheet represents a real breakthrough," Jonathon Porritt, founder and director of London-based sustainability nonprofit Forum for the Future, said in a statement.

Beverage cans are made from essentially two parts: the can end and the can body. The body of the can is usually made from a mix of primary aluminum and recycled aluminum, while the top of the can, which is stiffer, tends to be produced from primary metal, a Novelis spokeswoman said via e-mail. Combining the evercan in the body with the can end results in a beverage container made from an average minimum of 70-percent recycled aluminum, she said.

The evercan has been certified by Emeryville, Calif.-based SCS Global Services, a third-party environmental and sustainability standards firm, Atlanta-based Novelis said.

Novelis has said that it wants to boost recycled content in its products to 80 percent by 2020, with beverage cans being a key part of that effort. Over the past two years, the company has announced investments of nearly $500 million to double its recycling capacity to 2.1 million tonnes by 2015.

Recycling aluminum uses 95 percent less energy and emits 95 percent less greenhouse gas than primary aluminum production, the company said.

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