Recycling is Key to Achieve a Sustainable Economy and Create Green Jobs

Charles Johnson, Vice President for Environment, Health and Safety at The Aluminum Association, has testified in front of House of Representative's Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy.

The testimony was associated with the discussion draft bill titled ‘The Increasing Manufacturing Competitiveness through Improved Recycling Act of 2012.’ Johnson thanked the Chairman Shimkus, Ranking Member Green and Members of the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, for the opportunity to deliver the testimony and praised Congressman Sullivan for providing this draft bill and his consistent endeavors in increasing recycling as a key part of the country’s energy and sustainability efforts.

This legislation is important to the US aluminum industry because recycling creates green and sustainable jobs in the private sector. Recycling plays a significant role in energy efficiency and must be a component of the country’s energy solutions. This legislation will facilitate in compiling improved recycling and waste data, which will in turn enable industry, policymakers and consumers to realize a higher recycling rate rapidly. Moreover, increased recycling activities will reduce solid waste in landfills, enhance sustainability, contribute the nation’s energy efficiency goals, develop industry, and generate jobs.

Aluminum is an infinitely recyclable material, which means used aluminum has high scrap value and aluminum recycling results in energy saving and creation of green jobs. Moreover, the American public is seeking more eco-friendly solutions. The aluminum industry views this legislation as a significant progress in developing recycling activities, enhancing the operating efficiency, and reducing the environmental footprint of the industry.

Recycling aluminum consumes a mere5% of the energy and releases just 5% of the greenhouse gases with respect to primary aluminum production, thus playing a key role in energy efficiency. In the past two decades, the primary production has achieved a 42% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and 17% reduction in energy consumption, whereas energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of recycling have reduced to 60%.

Beverage can is the most renowned application of aluminum. In the US, 58.1% of cans were recycled in 2010. This legislation will facilitate the perceptive of municipal recycling, which is important to improve can recycling along with other aluminum product recycling, which is over 90%. The aluminum industry has set a target of achieving an aluminum can recycling rate of 75% by 2015. Recycling efficiencies must play a key role in the US’ energy strategy. Hence the aluminum industry is ready to team up with EPA to gain a better understanding about the recycling and waste streams in order to develop better solutions to improve the country’s recycling rate.



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