Could disaster have been averted by recycling?

by Dawn Quirk

Your recycling one aluminum can could literally save lives. This past week, seven people were killed in Hungary by toxic red mud, which is flooding parts of the nation and destroying local waterways. This harmful red sludge is a byproduct of the aluminum production process, the same aluminum used to make cans. Aluminum cans are made from heating bauxite rock, which produces the toxic red mud. This mud is very difficult to dispose of and is typically pumped into red-mud ponds, which take up land that can neither be built upon nor farmed upon even when dry.When you recycle aluminum cans you prevent manufacturers from burning more bauxite to create new aluminum, and in turn you stop the re-occurrence of tragedies like the one in Hungary. We cannot allow forty-one billion cans to continue to be wasted annually when creating cans from recycled aluminum uses 95% less energy than using new bauxite. If you believe that recycling one can does not make a difference, then consider that all of the people who share that attitude account for one-third of the aluminum cans in America ending up in landfills. It is our collective responsibility to take a stand and refuse to let more cans go to waste when human lives are at stake.

Information found in the article: “Disaster in Hungary reminds us of recycling dangers”, found in the October 11, 2010 edition of The Lowell Sun