Bad Rap on ScrapEditor: As president of the Seaboard...


November 05, 1995

Bad Rap on Scrap

Editor: As president of the Seaboard Chapter of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, which encompasses Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia, I am truly enraged over the article entitled "The Metal Men" that appeared in the Sun Magazine on Sept. 3.

The article states that the real blame for the theft of aluminum, iron, brass and copper is on the "Metal Kings," the scrap yard owners, the people behind the scales. No mention is made about the drug pushers who sell the vials of coke and heroin to the "ants." The "ants" steal from empty rowhouses, warehouses and the scrap dealers themselves.

The Baltimore scrap recyclers belong to a "FAX-NET" to report to other scrap dealers the theft of stolen materials. Unfortunately, much of the scrap metal that is purchased by the dealers is undistinguishable. Once insulated copper has been burned, it is no longer easily identifiable. In addition, the same principle applies to broken cast iron grates, aluminum and discarded brass.

Our industry is made up of many family-owned businesses that employ third and fourth generations. Many businesses have invested millions of dollars for equipment that is needed to process the many varieties of scrap metal that are purchased. In addition, if the scrap metal recyclers did not purchase these materials, much of it would be left on the streets, behind homes, in the woods, and in our waterways.

Our industry returns valuable metals to industry for reuse in new products. The recycled scrap becomes raw material or feedstock for manufacturing new products, thereby saving both energy and natural resources. When steel is recycled, the environment reaps the following benefits: 74 percent savings in energy, 90 percent savings in virgin materials use, 97 percent reduction in mining wastes, 86 percent reduction in air pollution, 76 percent reduction in water pollution, 105 percent reduction in solid waste generated.

Enough bashing of the scrap industry has been done. It is time that everyone be made aware of the outstanding contributions that we, as scrap recyclers, provide to communities nationwide.

George B. Ginsburg

Chesapeake, Va.

Afflicted Flick Picks

Editor: For someone who holds the axiom "Knowledge is good" so dear to heart, Rob Hiaasen was appallingly bereft of that very trait in his "Movies for Men" essay [Sept. 17].

Not only is one of Hiaasen's picks outright wrong ("Young Frankenstein"? C'mon! Maybe for prepubescent lads!), his description of one gag from "National Lampoon's Animal House" [indicates] his inability to understand the joke he holds so dear.

Forthwith: The character of Otter, in need of a date, picks up the newspaper and searches out the death notices for an unfortunate demise such as that of Fawn Liebowitz (of Fort Wayne, Ind.), who perished in the kiln disaster. Otter then deliberately poses as Fawn's fiance in order to pick up a sympathy date with one of her friends, then utters the line "And can you get dates for my four friends?" Hiaasen just doesn't get the true "black humor" of the joke, which makes the validity of his choices at the least suspect, at the most invalid.

And another thing: "Raising Arizona?" Get real. It's a hilarious movie, but it's no guy movie. And he boots the one pick that makes up for it ("The Wild Bunch") by admitting that he's never even seen the bloody (pun intended) thing! Hey Rob, try "The Great Escape." Try "Apocalypse Now."

Perhaps Hiaasen is not the manly man he proclaims himself to be. Perhaps his memory's fading.

Hiaasen needs to rethink (or at least research) his choices. While everyone's entitled to an opinion, it helps if it's the right one.

G. Fiske Brown

Derek Spychalski


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