Quantcast Benefits of Recycling

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EPA data indicate that at least three facilities store iron blast furnace slag in
stockpiles, slag pits, or temporary storage units. In 1988, over 14.6 million cubic meters of
iron blast furnace slag was accumulated in active waste management units. Some of this
material can be mined and utilized. In the Report to Congress, EPA indicated that in the
future, most primary iron producers in the U.S. are expected to modernize their blast
furnaces and install slag granulation facilities, resulting in greater availability of GGBF slag
for use in cement and concrete.
B. Benefits of Recycling
By all measures, the United States generates more solid waste (including municipal
solid waste, construction and demolition debris and non-harardous industrial waste) than any
other country in the world. While the rate of increase of waste generation has slowed over
the last 10 years, amounts generated -- as measured on a per capita or total basis -- continue
to grow. The occurrence of regional waste disposal capacity shortages and the difficulty in
siting new disposal facilities continue to plague state and local decision-makers responsible
for managing solid waste -- creating national concern. In RCRA, Congress acknowledged
the importance of recycling in helping to alleviate these problems and recognized that
recycling is not merely the collection of materials, but includes the manufacture of products
with these materials and the purchase of recycled content products by consumers.
RCRA section 6002 established the government buy-recycled program, which uses
Federal purchasing' power to stimulate the demand for products made with recovered
materials. The statute does this by requiring EPA to issue guidelines to be used by Federal
agencies. to procure recycled content products. President Clinton's Executive Order 12873
further bolsters the Federal government's commitment to buy products containing recovered
materials by streamlining" the process used by EPA to designate these items.
Executive Order 12873 recognizes that the Nation's interest is served when the
Federal government makes more efficient use of natural resources by. maximixing recycling
and preventing waste wherever possible. The E.O. also recognizes that the Federal
government should -- through a&-effective waste prevention and recycling activities -- work
to conserve disposal capacity, and serve as a model in this regard for private and other
public institutions. In some instances; the use of recovered materials in manufacturing can
result in significantly lower energy and material input costs than when virgin raw materials
are used. Aluminum recycling, for example, can save up to 97 percent of the energy
reqirements for making new aluminum, as compared to the use of bauxite. Use of
recovered materials may reduce the generation and release of air and water pollutants often
associated with manufacturing (including air emissions that contribute to the level of
"greenhouse gases" and ozone depletion). Air pollutant reductions of nearly 25 percent have
been associated with the manufacture of glass from recovered materials, while reductions
from the manufacture of steel and aluminum can he as high as 85 percent and. 95 percent,
respectively, when recovered materials are used. Additionally, water pollutant reductions in
the manufacture of steel and aluminum can be is high as 75 percent and 95 percent,
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