Seeking a sustainable future one can at a time

Adam Shalapin helps aluminum can maker Ball Corporation cut its carbon emissions with wind power

On the weekends, you can find Adam Shalapin enjoying the outdoors skiing, hiking or fly fishing, but during the week, he’s working at Ball Corporation as the global sustainability manager to protect the land and water that he loves.

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Adam Shalapin, Ball Corporation global sustainability manager, hiking with his wife and daughter.

For an outdoorsy engineer, it’s a job filled with purpose fueled by increasing concerns about climate change. To help preserve the things he loves, he knows he must be part of the solution.

Ball Corporation, headquartered outside Denver, Colo., is a technology and packaging manufacturer best known for its aluminum cans. Shalapin is leading the company’s goals to cut 25 percent of the carbon emissions from each can produced by 2030. One of the main ways they’re going to reach their goal? Investing in wind energy with Duke Energy Renewables.

Ball signed a 15-year virtual power purchase agreement to buy 161 megawatts of the wind power produced by Duke Energy Renewables’ Frontier II Windpower Project under construction in Oklahoma. That’s enough to supply 50 percent of Ball’s U.S. energy needs with carbon-free energy.

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He recently told his story in Duke Energy Renewables’ video series “Today’s Leader’s. Tomorrow’s Heroes,” which features leaders from organizations that are committed to sustainability. Duke Energy Renewables produced the series to inspire others to take on similar commitments.  

Nearly 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies have committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Agreements like Ball’s make it possible for companies to quickly get the benefits of renewable energy without managing solar or wind facilities.  

Meet more people like Adam

Throughout the year, Duke Energy Renewables will feature other companies that are making bold commitments to renewable energy with the "Today's Leaders. Tomorrow's Heroes." campaign. Watch Adam's video and read their stories.

In addition to purchasing renewable energy, Ball is meeting its carbon goals by increasing its energy efficiency and sourcing aluminum with the lowest carbon intensity possible.

“When you look at the reports coming from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change about the rate at which we’re warming and how much time we have to turn this ship around – it’s not much,” Shalapin said. “This is an opportunity to address the carbon footprint associated with our products and make an impact in the world quickly.”

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Shalapin knows what’s at stake for his company and family, and he's inspired to find ways to improve.

“I want to see a world where my daughter can ski and snowboard and enjoy the same river that I fish on now,” he said. “All of these things rely on the world being the same in 100 years.”

More than 75 percent of all aluminum produced is still in use today

Aluminum cans are recyclable, easily sorted and can be recycled infinitely with no loss in quality. Ball calls them “the most sustainable package,” and Shalapin believes aluminum is on the brink of a breakthrough as people realize its sustainability potential compared to other packaging materials. At Super Bowl LIV in Miami, Fla., Ball will supply 50,000 aluminum cups, which will then be recycled for future games at the Hard Rock Stadium. The switch to aluminum will eliminate more than 500,000 plastic cups annually from the stadium's supply chain.

Learn more about the lifecycle of aluminum cans.