Why UBC consumers are finally warming up to MRFs

Feb 24, 2009 | 06:01 AM |

For the U.S. aluminum industry, which has braced for challenges due to climate regulations and energy costs, the past year has been a time for overcoming past phobias tied to can scrap—not an easy task.

The motivator is getting to a 75-percent can recycling rate by 2015. The phobias being relaxed are toward container deposit legislation and unsorted collection of household recyclables at curbside, known as single-stream recycling.

At the policy level, the Aluminum Association in November said that it considers container deposit legislation "a proven, sustainable method of capturing beverage cans for recycling." Only two months earlier, preparing the way for such a shift, Gregory Wittbecker, director of corporate metals recycling strategy at Alcoa Inc., had said "deposit is sort of a nuclear bomb. You use it with great discretion."

At the operational level, aluminum producers are reconciling themselves to ever-larger quantities of can scrap coming from single-stream curbside pickup programs, in which households and businesses toss discarded metal and plastic packaging, paper and glass bottles into a single bin. The outfit doing the collecting, typically a municipality or private trash hauler, also enjoys a simpler role it doesn't have to handle multiple bags of recyclables from each customer.....





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