A Friendly Form of Competition

Departments - Editor's Column

January 16, 2012


Brian Taylor


Throughout the past several years, it has become standard operating procedure for trade associations and larger corporations to allocate a portion of their websites to their positions on sustainability. In many cases, this website verbiage is a way to communicate a much larger effort by an industry sector or a company to adopt sustainable practices, while in other cases there may be an aspect of feeling obligated to acknowledge the concept of sustainability in some way.

Several of the trade associations that represent producers of the basic materials most commonly written about in Recycling Today mention sustainability on their websites, and often recycling plays a starring role. For people who make their livings recycling these materials, it can be heartening to see manufacturers pay respect to recycling.

A sampling of statements on recycling from trade associations representing producers of some of the most commonly traded secondary commodities follows:

  • "Steel is the most recycled material on the planet, more than all other materials combined. The amazing metallurgical properties of steel allow it to be recycled continually with no degradation in performance and from one product to another." – American Iron and Steel Institute, www.steel.org
  • "AF&PA's goal is to ensure a continuing, expanding domestic recovered fiber supply to help meet global demand. Paper recycling reuses a renewable resource that sequesters carbon and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Paper recovery is an environmental success story." – American Forest & Paper Assoc., www.afandpa.org
  • "Over two-thirds of all the aluminum ever produced is still in use today. It is not merely its durability that has permitted this remarkable record of sustainability, it [also] is due to its recyclability—a property inherent to the metal." – The Aluminum Association, www.aluminum.org
  • "Each year in the U.S., nearly as much copper is recovered from recycled material as is derived from newly mined ore. Copper's recycling value is so great that premium-grade scrap normally has at least 95 percent of the value of the primary metal from newly mined ore." – Copper Development Association, www.cda.org

As far as recyclers and traders are concerned, these groups can continue to compete to see who can make the boldest recycling claims.


In the November 2011 issue of Recycling Today, in the article "Shore Bet," the full company name for Bulk Handling Systems (BHS) was incorrectly given on first reference. We regret the error.