Using Aluminum Takes A Weight Off The Environment

Let me commend BUSINESS WEEK for its excellent analysis of the role of aluminum in lightweighting vehicles and improving fuel efficiency ("What gets 100 mpg and seats 6? Nothing--yet," Cover Story, Sept. 16).

However, I'd like to add a word about aluminum's benefits. For the Acura NSX, aluminum lightweighting is a reason the car has its superior performance, handling, and braking capabilities at the improved fuel-efficiency level. It is also worth noting that the U. S., the world's largest producer of aluminum, as well as a major supplier of aluminum to Japan, produces roughly half of its aluminum from hydropower (a nonemissions-producing form of power). But the greatest environmental advantage is aluminum's recyclability.

Aluminum can be recycled back to the same product it started as, unlike paper, plastics, etc. Already, over 85% of automotive-aluminum scrap is reclaimed and recycled. Use of this recycled metal saves 95% of the energy needed to make new aluminum from ore.

Jane Petty

Communications Manager

The Aluminum Assn.

Washington