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At the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting today, Alcoa (NYSE:AA), Alcoa Foundation and Keep America Beautiful (KAB) announced a national commitment to increase U.S. recycling rates. “Action to Accelerate Recycling” will generate awareness, create incentives, and provide recycling access and infrastructure to increase U.S. recycling of aluminum, plastic, glass and paper. The commitment, which includes $2 million in funding from Alcoa and Alcoa Foundation, is expected to engage millions of Americans and increase the current U.S. recycling rate by 10 percentage points. Increasing the rate to 75 percent would generate close to 300 additional tons of recycled content, resulting in the avoidance of more than 2,850 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
The U.S. recycling rate lags the rest of the world, which has financial and environmental implications: millions of dollars spent on landfills and transporting waste; billions of dollars lost from residual value of scrap; and missed opportunities to create green jobs. A recent report from the Blue-Green Alliance found that increasing recycling rates in the United States to 75 percent for all municipal solid waste would create 1.5 million jobs.
“For every can that is recycled, we save energy and money, reduce our environmental impact, and create economic opportunities in U.S. communities,” said Klaus Kleinfeld, Chairman and CEO of Alcoa. “Our partnership with Keep America Beautiful is a ‘call to action’ for companies, consumers and community organizations to make recycling a priority. Together with our industry partners, we set and can achieve an ambitious yet achievable 75 percent aluminum can recycling rate by 2015 in the U.S.”
“We are singularly focused on influencing people’s recycling behaviors at work, at home and at play through education, programs and awareness campaigns,” said Matt McKenna, president and chief executive officer of KAB. “One of our commitment’s key initiatives is the launch of a first-ever, multi-million-dollar national media campaign on recycling scheduled for early next year.”