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NYS Governor's Awards for Pollution Prevention - Ball Metal Beverage

Ball Metal Beverage Container Corporation, Saratoga Springs


Ball Metal Beverage Container facility in Saratoga Springs, NY employs 225 people who produce two-piece 12 oz. aluminum beer and beverage containers. The manufacturing process includes metal shearing, forming, cleaning and coating. Various coatings, solvents, oils and inks are used in the manufacturing process

Methodologies and Procedures

Ball established a recycling committee in 1988. Its primary objective was to eliminate or reduce materials that presented a negative environmental impact. The committee developed an action plan, which at first included identifying the types of trash that were being disposed. Goals were then set to record and publish meeting notes; employee education and involvement; advise suppliers of pollution prevention goals and request their involvement, specifically requesting recyclable packaging.

Ball also requested new product development, without sacrificing product quality. Items identified as recyclable were: cardboard cores from the aluminum coils, office paper, ink pails, scrap wood, plastic strapping, separator sheets and scrap metal. Wooden shipping pallets were completely replaced with high-density polyethylene pallets. Company-wide, Ball has replaced 2.2 million wooden pallets with 440,000 plastic pallets. The team then located recyclers for each waste stream. This project alone reduced the trash sent to the landfill from 520 tons in 1988 to 120 tons in 1996. This saved the company $34,000 in tipping fees annually.

Process Changes

Since 1993, the plant has voluntarily eliminated the use of all 1,1,1-trichloroethane, methyl ethyl ketone, methyl isobutyl ketone, and all chlorinated solvents which translates to 30,000 pounds per year. Working with suppliers, the volatile organic compound content in inks was reduced by 50 percent or 54,000 pounds per year and in the content of inside-the-can spray by 11.55 to 14.9 percent. The company converted all three of its can washers to a new fluoride-free cleaning process that eliminated hydrofluoric acid by 16,000 pounds per year. Oils were placed in bulk containers, with use monitored on a per-shift basis. Through monitoring, the plant was able to identify use more closely, and make further reductions.


Reduced regulatory burden and liability.

The programs instituted have resulted in a change of the plant's Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) generator status. The plant has gone from a near large-quantity hazardous waste generator, to a conditionally exempt small quantity generator, producing less than 220 pounds of hazardous waste a month.

Maintenance and repair cost savings are estimated to be in excess of $10,000 per year with the elimination of fluoride from the can washers.

The plant now ships 100 percent recyclable, reusable products to customers.

Due to down-gauging and scrap reduction, the plant increased production by 11 percent from 1993 to 1995 with only a 4.6 percent increase in aluminum. Over the years this effort has saved the plant in excess of 1,000,000 dollars.

Any comments or questions?
Contact us at: 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-1750;
518-402-9469 (phone); 518-402-9168 (fax)

This page was last modified March 8, 1999

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