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FW: increase in metals recycling
Following is a pair of several-times-forwarded responses to the
question about metals in recycling and treatment data from TRI.
> From: Tom Natan[SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Tuesday, October 14, 1997 2:42 PM
> To: Lois Epstein; Brian Murray; Paul Orum
> Subject: increase in metals recyclin
> I don't know about improvements in technology or new POTW regulations,
> but I
> can make a few suggestions based on my TRI survey. The first is that
> are a lot of facilities who suddenly decide that on-site recycling of
> ought to be reported (whereas previously they considered it in-process
> recovery, which didn't have to be reported). This is a recognition
> sweeping scraps off the floor and putting them in the feeder hopper is
> not an
> in-process activity. There are any number of facilities who decide
> opposite as well.
> I also know that there are some facilities that don't report one year
> more of their operations are considered "mining", but do report the
> next year
> because more operations are "smelting" -- and of course the reverse
> happens as
> well. There is a facility in Salt Lake City that does this, and
> drives the
> TRI people crazy because they never know if the facility will show up
> from one
> year to the next. Of course, now that mining facilities will report
> in 1998,
> this nonsense should cease.
> Another thing that could be going on is that the price for metal waste
> product could be going down, making it necessary for facilities to
> send waste
> to treatment or recycling rather than selling it as product. This
> happened in
> 1993 with cadmium. Cadmium ore is mined along with zinc ore, and zinc
> processors traditionally have processed the cadmium and sold it. But
> in 1993,
> cadmium prices fell, and so they suddenly had this cadmium on hand
> that was
> uneconomical to purify, so off site it went. The 33/50 Program people
> most upset by this.
> I'll send a copy of this message to Dr. Murray.
> Tom Natan
> Environmental Information Center
> 1200 18th Street, NW, Suite 500
> Washington, DC 20036
> 202/887-8880 (fax)
> From: Murray, Brian C.
> Sent: Tuesday, October 14, 1997 3:04 PM
> To: 'Tom Natan'
> Cc: 'Brian Murray'; Malkin, Melissa
> Subject: RE: increase in metals recyclin
> Tom -- Thanks for your thoughtful response to my inquiry.
> The increase in metal waste is fairly steady, so maybe the itinerant
> facility phenomenon (in one year, out the next) is secondary to the
> more secular trends you suggest, e.g., the increase realization that
> certain activities should be reported as recycling, the effect of
> metal prices,etc... Thinking that metals prices might be a factor, I
> took a look at the leading index of metal prices, which suggests that
> metal prices overall have not done anything terribly unusual in the
> last 5 years, in fact they seemed to have stabilized somewhat. But
> this index is driven more by the big primary metals (steel, aluminum,
> copper) and may very well miss the minor metals like cadmium that have
> a major presence in the TRI data. Thanks for the heads up. I will
> look into it further.
> I would like to find out more about your study. Please let me know if
> you have something you can circulate. FYI, my study is using TRI data
> to measure hazardous waste minimization trends since 1991 (since BRS
> data are not always up to the task).
> Thanks for your help --
> Brian C. Murray, Ph.D.
> Senior Economist
> Center for Economics Research
> Research Triangle Institute
> Phone: 919-541-6468
> Fax: 919-541-6683
> Email: email@example.com