Crushed cans
Photo courtesy Dreamstime

Novelis launches new initiative with Habitat for Humanity

The two organizations plan to support and promote neighborhood sustainability through increased recycling.

May 11, 2021

The nonprofit Habitat for Humanity and Novelis, an aluminum recycler based in Atlanta, have announced the launch of a joint initiative to increase recycling in local communities and raise funds for affordable housing. Through this program, Novelis is providing recycling bins and monetary grants to help Habitat organizations in the U.S. and Canada collect about 2 million aluminum cans.

“As a longtime partner of Habitat for Humanity, Novelis is proud to support this recycling initiative at a time when recycling rates are trending downward and the need for safe, affordable housing continues to trend upward,” says Ashley Gravlee, corporate social responsibility manager at Novelis. “Aluminum is the most valuable material in our recycle bins and can be a sustainable source of funding for organizations like Habitat that can use the value of recycled aluminum to increase access to affordable housing.” 

The recycling initiative begins June 1 and spans six months. Throughout the program, Habitat organizations will compete to see which group can collect the most aluminum. So far, more than 140 local organizations are participating. Registration for the program ends at the end of May, according to Habitat for Humanity.

At the end of the six months, the bins and bags are weighed and local habitat organizations will bring them to local recycling centers, where they'll be provided with funds in exchange for the aluminum collected. Novelis has provided a list of Novelis business units throughout the U.S. and Canada that operate as vetted recycling sites and can offer local expertise on starting or expanding a recycling program in that area.

In addition to the funds provided for the aluminum, Novelis is donating grants of $1,750 to each participating Habitat organization. In addition, grants of $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500, respectively, will be given to the first, second and third place winners.

This program will help increase affordable housing by providing additional funds and monetary grants to the local Habitat organizations that are working to build and repair decent, affordable housing within their communities. Habitat will tailor the work to be done based on the community, including new home construction, home repairs, disaster recovery or assisting older residents with home modifications.

“Novelis and Habitat share a dedication to the health, safety and well-being of the communities we serve,” says Colleen Finn Ridenhour, chief development officer at Habitat for Humanity International. “By working together to launch this program, we’re able to get more residents involved in enhancing their neighborhoods, improving both housing stability and sustainability.”

The program also aims to increase recycling across North America, which sees more than $1 billion in aluminum go to landfills annually. In the U.S., recycling is on a downward trajectory, with less than half of aluminum cans being recycled currently, Gravlee says.

“Using the value of recycled aluminum to fund Habitat’s mission of affordable housing powerfully illustrates how people can contribute to the betterment of the environment and their communities when they choose to recycle,” Gravlee says. “Novelis believes once people are aware of the value of aluminum and connect it to a cause for which they are passionate, they see the tangible impacts they can make through the simple act of recycling. It’s powerful to think that every can that gets recycled gets a family one step closer to attaining the dream of homeownership.”

During the pilot phase of the initiative, which began in November of last year, 39 Habitat organizations competed to collect the most aluminum. Together, over three months, they collected and recycled 1 million aluminum cans. Novelis donated $5,000 to the winning Habitat organization and $1,000 to each Habitat organization that participated to help address the specific housing needs of each respective community.