Thursday, February 19, 2009

Is America Exporting Part of Its Chance for Energy Independence?

19 Feb 2009 12:00 Africa/Lagos

Is America Exporting Part of Its Chance for Energy Independence?

Video Documents What Happens When Most of What Americans Recycle Is Exported

BERKELEY, Calif., Feb. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- America's number one export by volume isn't something manufactured by an American company - it's scrap paper, metal, and plastics that Americans are recycling every day at home and work. When we export all of those recyclables to China and other nations, we are giving up part of the solution to reducing America's reliance on foreign oil and polluting sources of energy like coal.

That's because manufacturing new products out of recycled materials creates significant energy savings. "If we are going to become a more economically self-sufficient and energy-independent nation, America must strengthen its manufacturing sector, and manufacturers must become more energy efficient. One way to increase that efficiency is to use recycled materials, since recycling uses significantly less energy than mining and refining materials," says Steve Lautze, Green Business Projects Manager with the City of Oakland, CA and past president of the Northern California Recycling Association (NCRA). For example, making a new aluminum can out of an old one takes 95% less energy than creating that can from ore.

NCRA has produced a 17-minute video called "Point of Return" that explains how old newspapers, soup cans, and soda bottles move through the economy and are then are often shipped overseas, where foreign manufacturers reap the numerous benefits of using them as manufacturing feedstock. The rapid industrial growth in nations like China is fueled in large part by scrap materials purchased from the U.S.

Those same products are often then sold back to Americans in various consumer products, compounding our trade deficit. The video shows three American companies recovering a variety of materials and transforming them into useful products in Northern California's economy, and challenges other regions in the U.S. to do the same.

Recycled-content manufacturing and zero-waste production will also help combat global warming. "Expanding and optimizing recycling represents one of the most accessible and cost-effective ways that we can reduce our national carbon footprint," says Patty Moore, president of Moore Recycling Associates and a member of the Northern California Recycling Association.

To learn more, watch the video online at

About NCRA

The Northern California Recycling Association (NCRA) is an association of recycling businesses, community groups, municipalities, and individuals committed to promoting, expanding, and institutionalizing recycling. Learn more at

Source: Northern California Recycling Association

CONTACT: Steve Lautze, +1-510-238-4973,; or Patty
Moore, +1-707-935-3390,

Web Site:

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