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Alcoa Inc. employees promote recycling to UT’s ‘sailgaters’

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Alcoa Inc. employees promote recycling to UT’s ‘sailgaters’

Knoxville, Tenn. – Alcoa Inc. volunteers ‘gathered by the river’ on Oct. 29 to help spread the word about aluminum can recycling before the University of Tennessee versus South Carolina college football game.

Alcoa volunteers (from left to right) Walt Brockway, Robin Brockway, Time Reyes and Paige Rose prepare to distribute blue bags and bins to tailgaters and "sailgaters" among the Vol Navy. The recycling event ended Alcoa's Month of Service with a promotion to encourage increased recycling away from home.

Building on the success of its “Let’s Tackle Recycling” program with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Alcoa volunteers talked about the importance of recycling to both tailgaters and “sailgaters” who are part of the storied “Vol Navy.”  The University of Tennessee is famous for its fleet of fans who boat up and down the Tennessee River to party before and after college football games.  Known as the “Vol Navy,” they are famous for big boats and big parties.

“Cans are the package of choice for boaters.  We want people to get in the habit of recycling wherever they’re using cans – at home, or away from home,” said Beth Schmitt, director of recycling programs for Alcoa Inc.  “In particular, we know more cans are typically used at special events like tailgate parties or boat outings.  Reaching people in this environment is a good way to remind them to separate their beverage cans for recycling no matter where they are.” 

Alcoa volunteers gave boaters blue bags for beverage containers used before the game, and take-home bins for future use on the boat or at home.  Filled blue bags were collected for recycling just before game time.  The collection program was preceded by an informative email blast to members of the Vol Navy Boaters Association, and it supported the University of Tennessee’s “Game Day Recycling Challenge,” sponsored by Keep America Beautiful, the Environmental Protection Agency and Alcoa Foundation.

Alcoa volunteers Robin and Walt Brockway show off their recycling spirit before the Oct. 29 UT football game.

“Including the work of Alcoa volunteers with the Vol Navy and our game day recycling efforts around the stadium, we recycled a total of 25,000 pounds or 12.5 tons.  That’s the most we’ve ever recycled from a home game,” said Jay Price, UT facilities environmental coordinator.             

“I estimate that we were right at a 50 percent landfill diversion rate for this game,” Price added.  “Hopefully enough to beat all of the other South Eastern Conference schools in the EPA’s Game Day Challenge.”  Last year UT finished third in the SEC.

The aluminum industry saves 95 percent of the energy it takes to make aluminum from raw ore when it uses recycled material.  According to Alcoa, this energy value drives the demand for aluminum cans.  “We could recycle billions more cans if consumers were in the habit of recycling regularly,” said Schmitt.  “We want recycling to be as much a habit as wearing a seatbelt when you get into a car.”

About Alcoa Tennessee Operations
Alcoa’s Tennessee Operations is the world’s largest producer of rolled aluminum can sheet for beverage cans and is based in Blount County, Tennessee.  Locally, it employs approximately 1,000 at its recycling and fabrication plants in Blount County, its hydropower facilities and its downtown Knoxville office. 

About Alcoa Recycling
Alcoa collects both aluminum cans and other aluminum scrap for recycling in its facilities in Alcoa, Tennessee and Yennora, Australia. The mission of Alcoa Recycling is to help people understand how important it is to recycle, and to make it easier to do so. Today, it’s more important than ever to recycle. Recycling not only reduces litter and conserves landfill space; it is also an important key to slowing and stopping the growth of greenhouse gases caused by power generation. 

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Media Contact:
Christy R. Newman
(865) 977-3358

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