Novelis has opened an aluminium recycling and casting center in South Korea as part of a $400m expansion project.
The Yeongju recycling center is the firm’s first major step in the plan to increase recycling capacity to 2.1 million tons by 2015.
The facility will have an annual capacity of 265,000 tons, and will increase the company's total consumption of recycled aluminium to over 1.4 million tons per year.
Used aluminium beverage cans will be processed by the facility for re-melting and casting into sheet ingot that will be rolled at the company's Yeongju and Ulsan plants.
The multi-year expansion of Novelis’ operations in Korea is part of other recycling expansions underway in Brazil and Germany, along with additional investments worldwide.
Novelis claims it is the largest aluminium beverage can center in Asia and the region is the fastest growing market for rolled aluminium used to create beverage cans and consumer electronics.
The firm said it has committed to increasing the recycled content of its rolled aluminium products to 80% by 2020.
"The commissioning of our new recycling and casting facility is a testament to the diligent efforts of the Novelis Asia management team and the dedication of our highly skilled Novelis workforce here in South Korea," said Shashi Maudgal, president of Novelis Asia.
Aluminium cans recycled content
According to industry figures from the Aluminium Association, Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) and Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) aluminium cans have an industry average recycled content of 68%.
Novelis is currently working on Evercan, which is a can made with fully recycled content.
In June, the firm opened a R&D center in the US to focus on coatings, the shapes and sizes of cans and bottles and mechanical surface testing on aluminium.
The facility includes material development and testing laboratories, a pilot beverage can production line and a small scale aluminium rolling mill will also be added.
Phil Martens, Novelis president and chief executive officer, said the opening marked an “important milestone” for the company.
"Combined with our other recycling operations worldwide, this new state-of-the-art facility makes Novelis the world's leading recycler of aluminium, saving valuable natural resources while enabling our customers to create world-class products with a much smaller environmental footprint."