Boeing and Alcoa today announced they have formed a closed-loop program to significantly increase the recycling of internal aluminum aerospace alloys used during the production of Boeing airplanes. The announcement was made at the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, France.
The closed loop recycling program will entail inter-modal transport of aluminum alloy scrap material, including advanced alloys, from Boeing facilities in Auburn and Wichita as well as third-party processors in Auburn to Alcoa’s Lafayette, Indiana facility for melting and recycling into new aerospace materials. The program calls for recycling of 2XXX and 7XXX-series aluminum alloys used in the production of wing and fuselage components of Boeing airplanes. The forms will include aluminum extrusions, sheet and plate products. At the outset, approximately 8 million pounds of aluminum is expected to be recycled annually.
The new program also lays the groundwork for expansion of the effort to capture scrap from Boeing sub-contractors, and to be expanded to include other aluminum scrap forms, including chips that remain after the machining of parts.
“This program will maximize the value of aluminum scrap materials throughout the supply chain while also reducing waste,” said Leslie Shuman, Director of Supply Chain for Alcoa’s Aerospace, Transportation and Industrial Rolled Products. “It also allows us to work closely with Boeing to ensure the quality and integrity of the materials we bring into our system for recycling.”
Alcoa has been a leader in recycling of aluminum since it helped create the modern-day aluminum industry in 1888. Aluminum, unlike other materials, is infinitely recyclable and doesn’t lose any of its characteristics or durability when recycled. In fact, approximately 75 percent of all of the aluminum ever produced since 1888 is still in use today.