In line with the circular economy, we work to reduce or eliminate waste in our operations and keep resources in use for as long as possible.

We first focus on reducing waste generation at the source. We then work to identify and implement reuse and recycling opportunities and manage materials in an environmentally protective manner. This effort has created adjacent revenue streams for our company.

Our waste management hierarchy consists of the following:

Source reduction: Reduce the volume or toxicity of waste at the source through changes in industrial processes, material substitution, segregation practices, maintenance activities and more sustainable procurement practices.

Reuse: Reuse the waste or industrial byproduct onsite or offsite for its original purpose or for another beneficial purpose.

Recycling/composting: Recover value and resources from wastes.

Energy recovery: Recover heat value from wastes.

Treatment/disposal: Reduce the volume, toxicity or other hazardous characteristics of wastes prior to disposal or discharge. Disposal is the least preferred option for waste management.

Our long-term waste goal focuses on landfilled waste to emphasize reduction at the source and move from landfill disposal to other options, including reduction, reuse and recycling, using the waste management hierarchy.

Our goal is a 15-percent reduction in landfilled waste by 2025 and 25 percent by 2030 from a 2015 baseline. We achieved a 36.0 percent decrease through 2021.


► Hide the table▼ Show the table

Thousands of metric tons

Landfilled Recycled/Reused
2017 70.5 227.4
2018 83.4 180.1
2019 107.6 186.4
2020 99.6 186.9
2021 84.3 171.2

Case Studies

    Closing the Dross Loop

    Learn how Alcoa is diverting dross from landfills each year while reducing disposal costs and the use of raw materials to produce aluminum.

    Smelter Leaves Smaller Waste Footprint

    Learn how Alcoa finds every opportunity to reduce, reuse and recycle, resulting in waste being diverted from landfills through a multi-year sustainability strategy.