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[GreenYes] Aluminum can recycling and Iceland dam project linked
The below letter to the editor appeared in Monday's (July 22, 2002) New York
Times.  In the letter, the author, Glenn Switkes, implies that dam
construction and its associated environmental impacts could be avoided in
part by increased recycling and corporate accountability for wasteful
resource usage.  In making his argument, Mr. Switkes cites CRI's report on
aluminum can wasting - "Trashed Cans" (available online at

It is interesting to note that replacing the 51 billion aluminum cans
trashed in the U.S. last year would require twice the operating capacity of
the proposed hydroelectric dams on the Vatnakojull Glacier in Iceland (fact
courtesy of Jenny Gitlitz, author of the Trashed Cans report).

Also, I'm not sure if many of you caught this, but WWF was running a
campaign on this issue not too long ago.  Visit
ang=13&campaign_lang=13 for more info.  I've heard rumors that the head of
WWF is about to become a member of Alcoa's board of directors.  Very


**** NYT Letter to Editor ****

Ecology in a Can: It's a Jungle Out There

To the Editor:

"An Icelandic Battle of Wildlife Versus Voltage" (front page, July 16)
recounts a conflict being waged in many parts of the world where living
river systems and the human and ecological communities they support are
sacrificed to satisfy aluminum giants like Alcoa.

Alcoa and other energy-intensive partners are planning three huge dams for
the Amazon, which would flood rainforests and indigenous peoples' villages
and also threaten endangered species.

Is this necessary? According to the Container Recycling Institute, in 2001,
more than 750,000 tons of aluminum went unrecycled in the United States,
enough cans to circle the earth 153 times.

We are struck by the lack of transparency in the power purchase agreements
in Iceland, emblematic of an era in which companies appropriate resources
with little accountability and growing disdain for the earth's fragile

São Paulo, Brazil, July 17, 2002

The writer is Latin American program director for International Rivers

David Markert
Research Associate
Container Recycling Institute
1911 N. Fort Myer Drive, Ste. 702
Arlington, VA 22209

TEL:   703.276.9800
FAX:   703.276.9587

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