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Industry devoted to recycling, AA exec tells Congress.

Industry devoted to recycling, AA exec tells Congress

Speaking on Capitol Hill recently, William F. Hill, chairman of the Aluminum Association's Can Committee, told lawmakers that the aluminum industry's development of market-driven recycling businesses has accomplished the very objectives Congress may legislate in its efforts to address the nation's municipal solid waste problem. Hill, also the chairman of the newly-formed Municipal Solid Waste Task Force, addressed the House Subcommittee on Transportation and Hazardous Materials of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Aluminum's inherent value and the recycling infrastructure built around that value has successfully diverted 10 billion pounds of aluminum cans from the solid waste stream in the last decade, the AA official noted. He warned, however, "that the high value of aluminum, compared to other materials, may tempt municipal authorities to view it as a large and easy source of revenue to help pay for the disposal of competing materials, which are not as easily reused and for which economic markets are not fully developed."

This kind of approach, Hill added, "would penalize the one material that has created and sustained an economically viable market for its recycled product."

The aluminum industry has demonstrated an intense desire to retrieve aluminum from the waste stream, the executive continued. Illustrating the importance of scrap to the industry, Hill said that post-consumer scrap--such as cans and the aluminum in old automobiles--now "represents 45 percent of our national aluminum scrap consumption." The growth in this segment of the scrap industry, he said, "is directly attributable to the all-aluminum beverage can, the increased amounts of aluminum used in today's passenger cars, and the aluminum industry's efforts to create an infrastructure to recycle this valuable resource."

Hill asked the committee to avoid legislation which "could erase the distinctive value of more environmentally-responsible packages like aluminum cans." Rather, he urged lawmakers to facilitate continuation of the industry's access to scrap materials, "without interference in the economics of the marketplace for materials and containers."
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Title Annotation:William F. Hill, Aluminum Association's Can Committee
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Jul 24, 1989
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