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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:tnatan@acpa.com]
> Sent: 	Tuesday, October 14, 1997 2:42 PM
> To: 	Lois Epstein; Brian Murray; Paul Orum
> Subject: 	increase in metals recyclin
> 
> 10/14/97
> 
> Paul,
> 
> 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
> there
> are a lot of facilities who suddenly decide that on-site recycling of
> metals
> ought to be reported (whereas previously they considered it in-process
> recovery, which didn't have to be reported).  This is a recognition
> that
> 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
> the
> opposite as well.
> 
> I also know that there are some facilities that don't report one year
> because
> 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
> as
> 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
> were
> most upset by this.
> 
> I'll send a copy of this message to Dr. Murray.
> 
> Tom
> 
> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> Tom Natan
> Environmental Information Center
> 1200 18th Street, NW, Suite 500
> Washington, DC  20036
> 202/887-8800
> 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: bcm@rti.org
>