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[greenyes] "Weighing in" on landfill mining

Pardon the pun, but this IS a weighty subject!

CRI has estimated that 18 million tons of aluminum beverage cans have been
landfilled in the United States since the all-aluminum can was introduced in
1964. Compare this quantity of wasted cans to the world's entire output of
primary aluminum ingot: about 20 million tons per year. If dug up, these 40
years of wasted cans would have a value of $21.6 billion at today's scrap

All this UBC wasting is not just a thing of the past; it's still going on.
The recovery rate for this "most-recycled" consumer product has dropped from
a peak of 65% in 1992 to only 48% in 2002 (the 2003 numbers have not been
released yet).

In 2002, Americans failed to recycle 50 billion cans: more than half the
number consumed. That is 760,000 tons of wasted cans--an amount equivalent
to the annual production capacity of 3-4 modern aluminum smelters.

Ironically, as we continue to waste aluminum metal, the majors (Alcoa,
Alcan, etc.) continue to pursue building new bauxite mines and greenfield
smelter capacity all over the planet: from Austrialia to Brazil, from
Iceland to Mozambique.

Despite our dismal national UBC recycling record, the Aluminum Association,
the National Soft Drink Association, Anheuser-Busch, etc. continue to oppose
bottle bills: the only recycling systems proven to recover cans at rates of
70%-95%. Instead, they promote taxpayer-funded curbside recycling programs
which target only the residential wastestream, and feel-good, PR-worthy
programs such as "Cans for Habitat" which recover token quantities of cans
at best, and provide no permanent recycling infrastructure.

This summary is in no way intended to be an endorsement by CRI of landfill
mining--we have not studied the technical or environmental ramifications of
doing so; instead, it is meant to illustrate the irony of Americans'
burial--year after year--of the same valuable metal we're strip mining,
refining, and smelting in other countries at great environmental cost.

Public policy options to reverse this paradox do exist, if only our elected
officials could break free from the allure of the beverage industry lobby.


Jennifer Gitlitz
Research Director, Container Recycling Institute

Home Office:
2 Pomeroy Ave.
Dalton, MA 01226
Tel. (413) 684-4746
Mobile: (413) 822-0115
Fax: (413) 403-0233
Email: jgitlitz@no.address

Container Recycling Institute headquarters:
1911 N. Ft. Myer Dr. #702
Arlington, VA 22209-1603
Tel. (703) 276-9800
Fax: (703) 276-9587

On 5/16/04 2:58 PM, Art Krenzel at phoenix98604@no.address wrote:

> Konrad Ruckstuhl did a pilot program recovering a portion of an old land
> fill for Collier County in Florida in the late 80's.
> I know because I built the grinder which prepared the materials for organics
> recovery via composting. The test operated for several months and was
> terminated because of composting difficulties at the Collier County landfill
> as I recall. Anyone else have any input?
> Art Krenzel, P.E.
> 10505 NE 285TH Street
> Battle Ground, WA 98604
> 360-666-1883 voice
> phoenix98604@no.address
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <EcoWaters@no.address>
> To: <greenyes-digest-help@no.address>; <greenyes@no.address>
> Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2004 11:40 AM
> Subject: [greenyes] landfill mining
>> In the 1980s, my colleague tried to introduce Austrian landfill mining
>> program and equipment to the U.S. He had seen this approach successfully
> at work in
>> Austria. A large community in New Jersey was interested in this and a
> program
>> started to progress to reality when a certain sanitation lobby heard about
> it
>> and nixed it.
>> Carol Steinfeld
>> In a message dated 5/14/04 2:26:52 PM, greenyes-digest-help@no.address
> writes:
>>> Date: Thu, 13 May 2004 04:26:15 -0700 (PDT)
>>> To: 'GreenYes' <greenyes@no.address>
>>> From: "Bruce Arkwright,Jr" <powerbysun@no.address>
>>> Subject: RE: [greenyes] Mad Cow Disposal
>>> Message-ID: <20040513112616.12610.qmail@no.address>
>>> What will happen when we start mining the resources in
>>> the landfill?
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