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Eco-News Opens Doors I

was struck by two news stories in this issue that share a common theme that point to the future for our industry.

• “AFW Foundry Launches Sand Reuse Proj- ect” on p. 9. AFW Foundry’s new program has pushed the facility to reclaim 70% of its 6,500 tons of used sand each year and provide the other 30% for beneficial reuse in roadbed and embankment construction.

• “Honda Says 10 U.S. Plants Are Waste Free, Including Tree Casters” on p. 11. Tree of Honda’s North American metalcasting facili- ties send zero waste to landfills. In FY2010, these plants recycled 9,400 tons of sand as mulch and landscaping material and in con- crete products.

When you pair these news stories with our

roundup article on the GIFA trade show (p. 38), you can see the strides our industry continues to make with eco-friendly technology and process improvements. “We saw a strong op-

portunity to do the right thing for the environment and make some cost-ef- fective improvements for our business,” said Amy Dvornik, AFW’s vice president of business development, about her firm’s sand reuse project. Dvornik’s sentiment about AFW seems to fit the thinking of many metalcasters. What are the eco- and business- friendly decisions that need to be made and how can they be mar- ried together to push our businesses forward? The struggle in making this decision is that the play- ing field on eco-friendly issues can be in flux. For example, on p. 19, the news item “Thermal Sand Reclaimers Ruled Not Solid Waste Incinerators” details recent back and forth decisions in Wash- ington, D.C., that could have had serious conse- quences for our industry’s eco-efforts. In March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the Nonhazardous Second-

ary Materials Rule, which stated that thermal sand reclaimers were subject to commercial and industrial solid waste incinerator standards. These standards would have drastic ef- fects on the bottom line of metalcast- ers using thermal sand reclamation, making the process cost-prohibitive for many. However, through signifi- cant industry advocacy efforts by the American Foundry Society, EPA altered the standard to provide an exemption for thermal sand reclaimers. Tese regulatory issues

“Tese regulatory issues often go

often go unnoticed until it is too late. But, they can have just as much impact on the eco-friendly progress of our industry as any new technology. In the case of this standard, the door to thermal sand reclama- tion in the U.S. might have been closed if the ruling wasn’t changed. Tese stories on sand

unnoticed until it is

too late. But, they can have just as much impact on the eco-friendly

progress of our industry as any new technology.”

reclamation and reuse are not a sign of a new trend in our industry. Tey are the continuation of a trend that began 15-20 years ago. But as metalcasters continue to look for renewed business opportunities to improve efficiencies (as AFW did), they are turning to their raw materials for answers. Sand, energy and other raw material suppliers are voic- ing concerns about possible price increases due to global demand. Metalcasters must ensure access to these raw materials, and eco-friendly alternatives may be part of the answer.

Alfred T. Spada, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

If you have any comments about this editorial or any other item that appears in MODERN CASTING, email me at

August 2011 MODERN CASTING | 7

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