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Re: [GreenYes] questions regarding raw vs. recycled aluminum
Dear Laura,
         No,No,No!!!  Aluminum processing, whether from ore or from 
recycled cans DOES not create PCBs.  Historically, aluminum smelters 
(actually "reduction plants") have been associated with PCB contamination 
because PCBs were purchased and used (not produced) in machinery in the 
plants.  This is true, for example, at the ALCOA plant and Reynolds plant 
(now a division of ALCOA) in MAssena, NY.  As for dioxins, any combuistion 
process will produce some  dioxins, so I would not be surprised if trace 
quantities of dioxins are produced during the processing of aluminum 
ore.  However, when aluminum is recycled it is simply melted down --- 
emissions are minimal.
    Tell your friend that the environmental impact of processing aluminum 
ore FAR exceeds that of recycling aluminum cans.  To wit:
         ENERGY:  it takes 20 times more energy to produce a unit of 
aluminum from ore compared to melting down Al cans.  So, consider all the 
environmental impacts of producing electricity, whether nuclear, coal, or 
hydroelectric (dams).
         AIR POLLUTION:  Al reduction plants are notorious for spewing out 
air pollutants, including flourides and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
         EARTH:  Aluminum ore is mined in the tropics, where it leaves 
gaping holes in the earth. Not a pretty sight.

Don HUghes

>I am brand new to this list and hope that someone out there can help me 
>with a question our organization has received from one of our members that 
>I am unable to technically answer. Here it is:
>"I have a question I'm hoping you can help me out with, or at least maybe
>point me in the right direction.
>A friend of mine stubbornly refuses to recycle his aluminum cans (although,
>if someone takes it upon themselves to do so, he's fine with that).  He
>says his reason is because somewhere he heard that the process of recycling
>aluminum releases PCBs or dioxins or something into the water supply...
>sorry for the vagueness there, but his recollection was not too specific.
>No matter how I argue about the destructiveness and waste of mining virgin
>iron ore, he sticks to his belief.
>Where can I find more information on this, or are you very familiar with
>the process of aluminum reprocessing?"
>Can anyone out there provide me with a great argument to send to this 
>fella? Does the aluminum recycling process create PCBs or dioxin? Does the 
>raw process? Which creates more?
>What about facts and figures on the impact that bauxite mining has, as 
>well as any other materials needed to create alumimun, particulary for 
>food and beverage containers?
>More information on the raw bauxite/aluminum manufacturing process versus 
>the recycled aluminum process would also be great.
>Thanks for your help!
>Laura Huth
>executive director and founder
>Illinois Student Environmental Network
>Urbana, Illinois
>Illinois Student Environmental Network
>110 S. Race, Suite 202, Urbana, IL 61801
>800-817-6999  or  217-384-0830
>"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens
>can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
>                  - Margaret Mead
>To post to the greenyes list,
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