ALCOA, Tenn. — The United States trails Brazil, Germany, Russia and some other countries in its rate of recycling aluminum beverage cans and Alcoa Inc.’s chief executive said Friday that needs to change.

The Pittsburgh-based company dedicated an expansion of its aluminum can recycling operation in east Tennessee, a $24 million investment that a spokesman said makes it the largest such operation under one roof.

Alcoa President and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said the expansion will help support a goal of boosting the current 54 percent rate of recycling beverage cans in the United States to 75 percent by 2015.

The rate of recycled beverage cans is currently 75 percent in Russia, 91 percent in Germany and 95 percent in Brazil, according to Alcoa.

A company statement said the 75 percent recycling rate can be achieve in the United States if each person recycles one more can each week.

“Actually it is not very difficult to do,” Kleinfeld said at the event. He said a used container can be recycled and back on a store shelf within 60 days.

Kleinfeld said Alcoa is a partner in a fledgling coalition, Evermore Recycling, an initiative that involves “about 50,000 recycling bins” to boost reusing aluminum and help reduce carbon emissions.

The new equipment includes a crusher and delacquering furnace.


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