To review some of the basic Scriptural principles of Christian environmental
stewardship and to identify the considerations and constraints involved
in applying these principles to the conservation of a creational resource,
namely aluminum metal.
In 1997, 100 billion aluminum cans were produced in the U.S.
(2) Only half were recycled. What parties and constraints are
responsible for this poor management of aluminum? The
beverage and food distribution industry recognizes the importance of convenient,
attractive packaging. For example, the Coca-Cola company claims that the
embossed aluminum can is a key in its "strategy of using packaging to increase
perceived value for customers, and 'it gives this can a really incredible
appearance, a wonderful feel.' Consumers [have said] they like the look,
the feel, and in some cases, say it makes the product taste better."
Aluminum Mining and Smelting:
Question #1: Identify any ecological, Scriptural, and bioethical implications involved in bauxite mining in Suriname.
Nations that offer to subsidize some of the energy costs may cause
the aluminum refining industry to locate within their borders. Hence, aluminum
refining is strongly politically influenced.
According to McConnell, R.L. and D.C. Abel2:
that question the use of subsidies:
Creating a Sustainable Materials Society (WorldWatch Institute) http://www.worldwatch.org/pubs/paper/121.html
David Roodman's (WorldWatch Inst.) elaboration on the proposed elimination of subsidies and tax cut: http://www.worldwatch.org/alerts/pr980912.html
Question #2: How might subsidies for aluminum refining work in opposition to aluminum recycling? Can you identify benefits of subsidies?
|Energy or Economic Component:||Quantity:|
|1. Energy required to produce 1 aluminum can (from above) =||2.33 kWh|
|2. Cost a Consumer pays per kWh to Dayton Power and Light =||$0.09/kWh|
|3. Cost of manufacturing the 6 aluminum cans (from item 2.) =|
|4. Sale price of a six-pack of a generic brand of soft drink =|
|5. Profit to be divided among aluminum refiners, container manufacturers, beverage manufacturers and beverage handlers =|
#4: Compute the quantity of energy in kWh represented in the discarding
of aluminum cans by the
1997 estimate given in the Introduction. ___________________
Dams and Fish:
In the Pacific Northwest, subsidies are not only extended to aluminum
refiners but also to residential consumers. Their average electricity cost
is 55% of the national average, and they use 60% more electricity per capita
than the national average1.
Meanwhile, the hydroelectric power dams have been one of the reasons for
the decline in salmon and steelhead trout from a once prospering fishing
industry on the Columbia and Snake Rivers.
#6: What other ecological challenges exist in the Pacific Northwest,
and how might the interactions of landscape and river use and/or abuse
combine to lower the quality of the river habitats? What do current policies
suggest concerning the value
that is being placed upon the land, the water, and aquatic life in the
Northwest; and, upon aluminum cans?
This discussion guide has briefly examined some of the issues related
to aluminum refining and use in beverage packaging. A few sources have
been cited and linked for your further reading. Questions have been inserted
above which are intended to prepare you to enter discussion of the questions
below. However, two more preliminary questions are appropriate as we prepare
to analyze the complete scenario and apply environmental stewardship principles
toward better aluminum management:
Question #7: Do you believe the references cited present an accurate picture? Explain.
3. Having discussed #2., how could Christians influence political decision making so as to favor
stewardship of aluminum?
Summarize the constraints against proper Christian stewardship of aluminum
and propose a plan that
addresses and overcomes these constraints.
A. Aluminum Smelting:
Case Example #1: Bauxite mining in Suriname - Implications for human rights
and rain forest biodiversity
Example #2 (Industry View): Australian Aluminum Council - includes greenhouse
warming reduction plans
C. Recycling Statistics
"Aluminum" -- properties and influences on recycling -- brief summary of
benefit of recycling
aluminum with respect to energy conservation; sugested plan for increasing
recycling is given.
Challenge -- Guide to Recycling of Common Materials:
Christian Stewardship Implications for Recycling -- Internet Articles by Dr. Calvin DeWitt, AuSable Institute: