“UBC recycling rate stands at 66.7 percent” – Recycling Today, 30 September 2014

Together, the Aluminum Association, the Can Manufacturers Institute, and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries have reported that 2013′s used aluminum beverage can recycling rate hit 66.7 percent. This marks the third year in a row that the US recycling rate has surpassed 65 percent.

According to the Aluminum Association, the US’s Used Beverage Cans (UBC) recycling rate from the previous decade only averaged 54 percent. The Aluminum Association notes that the UBC recycling rate has grown in the last decade because US recyclers have been importing used cans from Canada, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia, amongst other countries. Due to the US’s closed-loop recycling process, the imported UBCs bolster the US’s recycling stream.

In 2012, the amount of imported cans declined; however, in the same year, US consumers recycled more cans, so the numbers balanced out.

Aluminum Association — Sustainability Facts
Can Manufacturers Institute — Beverage Can Facts

Can Manufacturers Institute — Recycling & Sustainability
Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries — White Papers, Reports, and Analysis

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

October 6, 2014

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2014. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

Social Share Toolbar

“Aluminum Cars Take Heat from ArcelorMittal’s CEO” – Wall Street Journal, 17 June 2014

Europe, China, and the US have all cracked down on fuel economy standards; President Obama has introduced new regulations to improve the average fuel economy by 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Automobile companies, like Ford, are responding to the new regulations by creating a new line of F-150 pickups made out of all-aluminum bodies, and many other US car manufacturers are following suit. However, Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel company, is an aluminum naysayer, contending that aluminum isn’t actually lighter than new designs of steel.

Due to US and European automotive companies’ move to aluminum, ArcelorMittal is now looking to expand and invest in developing economies, like China, Brazil, Mexico, India, and the Middle East, where steel is still heavily used.

According to Ducker Worldwide, 18% of vehicles will be produced entirely from aluminum by 2025, which will surely help the automotive industry to meet Obama’s proposed fuel economy standards. Though more expensive, aluminum is argued to be a lighter metal, which will thusly help to improve fuel efficiency; in the US, manufacturers’ fuel economies must increase by five percent each year until the 2025 mark. However, as ArcelorMittal presents, the flip side to manufacturing the same cars with all-aluminum bodies is to manufacture smaller cars out of steel, which was save the car industry the added expense of aluminum.

ArcelorMittal’s focus right now is on China, where it just opened VAMA, its first steel-manufacturing plant and a multi-million dollar undertaking with Hunan Iron & Steel Co. Through VAMA, the Chinese automotive industry will have access to 1.5 million tons of steel per year, an industry that has grown by 16% since 2013.

According to ArcelorMittal, the statistic that aluminum is 30% to 40% lighter than steel is only accurate if you’re equating aluminum to steel made in 2005. Steel produced in 2014 is harder and lighter than previous versions; current forms of steel have been refined using a distinctive heating and cool process. However, the Ducker Worldwide study still projects that a majority of automobiles will be manufactured out of aluminum parts by 2025.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

June 17, 2014

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2013. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

Social Share Toolbar

“India became 3rd-largest economy in 2011 from 10th in 2005″ – Times of India, 30 April 2014

According to a report released by the International Comparison Program—presented by the Development Data Group at the World Bank—in 2011, India’s economy grew to the third largest in the world from placing at the 10th largest in 2005 and is now ahead of Japan. The US is still the largest economy, succeeded by China.

China, India, and Indonesia’s rankings, in comparison to the US, doubled; Brazil, Mexico, and Russia grew by a third or more. In 2011, worldwide production of goods and services amounted to more than $90 trillion, and almost half came from low and middle-income countries. Six of the world’s 12 largest economies have been classified as middle-income countries: China, India, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, and Mexico.

The six biggest middle-income economies contributed 32.2 percent of the world GDP, while the six biggest high-income countries—US, Japan, Germany, France, UK, and Italy—contributed 32.9 percent.

China and India are growing rapidly and, with the exclusion of Japan and South Korea, account for two-thirds of the Asia and Pacific economy. China and India also account for almost 80 percent of investment expenditure in the same Asia and Pacific region.

Rise of middle-income countries will continue to provide the largest export markets for high-income countries, benefiting the world economy and reducing global income inequality.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

May 2, 2014

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2013. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

Social Share Toolbar

“The Myth of Industrial Rebound” – New York Times, 26 January 2014

There have been countless rumors that manufacturing companies—like Master Lock and Element Electronics—will return to the US from overseas, to boost US manufacturing jobs and the unemployment rate. However, rumors are rumors: these jobs are trickling in at a snail’s pace, and many are being subsidized by local, state and federal government agencies. Moreover, the US must compete with low-wage countries, like China and Mexico, which means less benefits for US manufacturing workers.

Last year, GE opened a new assembly line in Louisville, KY, the first one in over 50 years. However, the baseline hourly wage started at $13.50 per hour, less than $30,000 a year. In 2011, Volkswagon also opened a new plant in Chattanooga, TN. While the plant brought almost 2,000 jobs with it, the starting wage for assembly line workers was $14.50 per hour, half the amount that GM and Ford pay their unionized employees. Volkswagon made the shift to America from Germany, where the median income for their employees is $67.

This effectively means that America is now a low-wage country. Since the end of the recession in 2009, wages for the automotive industry have fallen by 10%, and wages for manufacturing fell 2.4%. These wage trends are inextricably linked to the US’s sluggish economic recovery—with dropping wage rates, consumers won’t, and can’t, spend. Americans also pay for the subsidies that government agencies provide for companies like Volkswagon.

Since January 2010, the US has picked up 568,000 manufacturing jobs, a very small portion of the almost six million lost from 2000 to 2009 and a very gradual recovery in comparison to the growth of nonmanufacturing jobs. Competition with manufacturing countries like Mexico is growing—Mexico pays its workers less than the US, while producing more than the US. If the US wants to keep up, then production will have to increase. This means more efficient workers.

Other more advanced industries, like aerospace, are also losing to less developed countries: Bombardier is producing Learjets in Mexico and Cessna will begin to assemble Citations XLS+ business jet in China.

The US also can’t count on the energy boom to save manufacturing. A 2009 study reported that only one-tenth of US manufacturing came from the energy industry. However, we can count on our service industry, which provides gainful employment in education and medicine, and can also assist in the US’s balance of trade.

Research and development (R&D) is something that we should invest in—R&D lends to more innovation and jobs. Obama’s second-term goals for America was to create one million manufacturing jobs and special subsidies for manufacturing. While that seems fairly improbable, his goals of increased training for skills required by employers and spending on R&D were very wise.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

March 25, 2014

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2013. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

Social Share Toolbar