Category: Editorial

A Commitment to Sustainability

The North American steel industry is committed to building a sustainable future. The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) and its member companies share a deep dedication to responsible stewardship of our natural resources so that future generations can enjoy them just as we cherish them today. We have long supported the value of recycling, creating in 1988, the Steel Can Recycling Institute (today known as the Steel Recycling Institute–SRI) to promote and sustain steel can recycling. In 1993 SRI’s (a business unit of AISI) mission was expanded beyond steel can recycling, to promote and sustain the recycling of all steel products, including automobiles, appliances, cans, construction materials and other steel products. The SRI educates the solid waste industry, government, business and ultimately the consumer about the benefits of steel’s infinite recycling cycle.

Over the past decade, AISI’s Board of Directors has identified environmental stewardship and commitment to sustainability as part of our strategic plan and our vision for the future. We have in the past, and continue to examine strategies to advance that vision.

Currently, we see the commitment to improving our environmental performance being advanced through:

  • Investments in new and innovative technologies;
  • Renewal of our long-time commitment to recycling;
  • Seeking to refine industry performance metrics
  • Collaboration, both across the industry and with other sectors, to extend our environmental progress even further.

Innovation has led to the introduction of a wide variety of new steels. In fact, 50 percent of the steels used to make automobiles today did not exist just 10 short years ago. The efficiencies gained from using lighter-weight yet higher-strength steels is impressive, which, when taken in the context of life cycle impact assessment, have the potential of helping achieve significant progress in emissions reductions. If currently available Advanced High Strength Steels were applied throughout the present U.S. automotive fleet, Greenhouse Gas Emissions from automobiles would be reduced by approximately 12 percent – an amount greater than the emissions generated by the entire American steel industry today.

The industry has committed significant resources to this effort. Since 1975, over $60 billion has been spent on new technologies to improve energy efficiency and productivity. That investment has paid off. The industry has reduced energy use per ton of steel shipped by more than 40 percent over the past 25 years and by 27 percent since the Kyoto baseline year of 1990. As a matter of fact the United States steel industry is the only significant industry in the U. S. that has reduced its total energy consumption while increasing its production in 2005 versus Kyoto baseline year of 1990.

Because of our long-term focus on recycling, the North American steel industry has seen a continued steady rise in the recycling rate for steel. For example, when it comes to cans, the steel can has outperformed the aluminum can for the past several years by having the highest recycling rate. The overall recycling rate of steel reached an all-time high based on the most recent data compiled through 2005, with an overall recycling rate of 75 percent. Surprisingly, the industry is still working to make the public aware that steel is the most recycling material on the planet – more than aluminum, paper, glass and plastic combined.

AISI has been actively engaged with a number of organizations outside our industry to achieve environmental progress. One major focus of AISI’s work has been the Asia Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate (APP). Cooperating with the U.S. Departments of Commerce, State, Energy and the EPA, AISI has played a leadership role in this important initiative. Founding partners Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and the United States have agreed to work together and with private-sector partners to meet goals for energy security, national air pollution reduction and climate change in ways that promote sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.

Another collaborative effort that produced significant environmental progress is the National Mercury Switch Removal Program, in which AISI played a central role.   AISI efforts helped to successfully complete an agreement with all stakeholders to implement a national program to remove mercury switches from vehicles prior to dismantling. Our industry contributed $2 million over three years to help fund – along with $2 million from the automotive industry – the creation of the Implementation Fund to encourage removal of the switches. The program is being rolled out in all 50 states and will help ensure mercury air emissions compliance at both the electric arc and basic oxygen steelmaking operations.

Sustainable Development is generally defined as follows: “meeting the needs of today without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs.” As a result of adopting this definition the steel industry has developed two key indicators to track our progress towards attainment. First, is our continued growth in the overall recycling rate, which not only saves precious raw materials but also significant amounts of energy for future generations to use. Secondly, is to continue to work with our customers to find ways to improve their use of steel whether it be a can, auto, or appliance manufacturer or an architect designing the next “Green Building.”

As you can see, through innovation, support for recycling, emphasis on metrics and collaborative strategies, the North American steel industry has made important headway on environmental initiatives. But this success cannot lead to complacency.

We need to press forward because the landscape around us is changing. Commitment to environmental stewardship, or “being green,” should not be construed as simply an attractive moniker or as a marketing gimmick. Our industry needs to be one of the players helping to shape the environmental agenda rather than watching from the sidelines.   More and more, we are seeing industry sectors making green attributes part of their criteria and standards of operation. A recent study, found that 85 percent of U.S. consumer business companies have active sustainability initiatives already in place. In the construction sector, we see the impact that the U.S. Green Building Council is having with its green building rating system (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED).

We see in the automotive, appliance and container markets similar emphasis, with increasing emphasis on life cycle impact assessment, given the federal government’s focus on CAFE standards, and developments such as Wal-Mart’s sustainability scorecard, a green rating system by which the world’s largest retailer has begun evaluating all packaged goods they sell and materials they utilize in all aspect of their business operations.   We can expect the awareness of more and more consumer-oriented companies to rise in sophistication regarding the impact of their products on the environment and a corresponding increase in their green marketing strategies.

The steel industry is poised, through the work of AISI, to further advance efforts to reduce its environmental footprint through research projects at universities around the country aimed at reducing, and eventually eliminating, CO2 emissions from the steel making process.

An example is a current project with Massachusetts Institute of Technology to produce iron by molten oxide electrolysis (MOE), which would generate no CO2 gases. This represents a significant first step towards carbon-free ironmaking by a technology that completely avoids emission of greenhouse gases from the smelter

In addition to the MIT project, AISI has three other long-range projects that will have a positive impact on the environment. These projects include: Ironmaking by Hydrogen Flash Smelting at the University of Utah; Geological Sequestration of CO2 at the University of Missouri-Rolla; and Integrating Steel Production with Mineral Sequestration at Columbia University.

I urge steel companies who may not yet be part of this vision for a sustainable future to join us. The challenge is great and the rewards will be enjoyed by our children and grandchildren as they carry on responsible environmental stewardship of our planet.




Archives: Recycling Aerosol: Just Another Steel Can

Americans have become quite adept at making use of their aerosol containers. Loosening a chain on a bike, keeping foods from sticking to pans and touching up paint are just a few of the ways that we put aerosols to use in our homes. Yet, when it comes to end-of-life disposal of the container, many consumers fall deficient on reaching the true potential of steel aerosol containers.

Fact is, steel aerosol containers are every bit as recyclable as the steel food cans millions of consumers routinely put in their recycling bins. Yet, many steel aerosol containers are not finding their way to the recycling bins. In some cases, this is because of dated misconceptions, but in a large number of cases, it’s just a simple disconnect about the package’s recyclability.

According to Greg Crawford, Executive Director of the Steel Recycling Institute, it’s as simple as picking up a new habit. “Many aerosol products aren’t in the kitchen where a lot of household recyclables are generated from, they’re in the bathroom or other side of the house, it creates a little bit of a disconnect.”

To help bridge that disconnect, many steel aerosol cans now have a “please recycle when empty” logo to help consumers learn how to properly recycle them. But, local recycling programs, looking to maximize the diversion of recyclables from landfills also need to better inform consumers that steel aerosol containers are easily recyclable once empty through normal use.

According to the Steel Recycling Institute’s National Recycling Database, there are over 15,000 locations that accept steel cans but only a third of those actively publicizes their approval of aerosol cans. The truth is, the process of separating steel cans from other materials often ends up including aerosols, too, whether they state it or not.

When materials in curbside recycling bins are picked up and taken away, the first thing that happens is they go to a material recovery facility (MRF). At the MRF, recyclables are loaded on a sorting line. Aerosols, like all steel products, are magnetically attracted. Virtually all MRF’s have magnetic belts which they use to automatically separate steel recyclables. This magnetic belt pulls the steel products out of the line and directs them into a different bin. When aerosol cans are included, they are picked up right along with food steel cans and baled together to go off to the steel mill for recycling. Because of this, aerosols may be added to the publicized list of accepted materials very easily without additional steps from community programs.

Virtually all processing mills already have aerosol cans in the mix, whether they’re formally included or not; they show up because consumers are putting them in curbside or drop-off bins. There are many more products that are appropriately labeled now, as they present themselves in the curbside or drop-off collection boxes they are in the stream and not called out or rejected, they move on.

Some program managers for curbside or drop-off programs are uncertain as to whether steel aerosol should be included with other steel cans; the fear is they may not be entirely empty.

“By way of formal testing by the Steel Recycling Institute,” explained Crawford, “we’ve determined that the steel aerosol cans sourced from households are statistically not just empty but very empty. The reason they’re empty is because people don’t buy them to throw away full cans, they use the product to its last ‘breath’. The efficacy of aerosols as a package is excellent since virtually all of the product stays fresh and usable until the contents are finally exhausted. ”

“The main thing about recycling an aerosol can properly is to use the product up,” continued Crawford. “If you’re not going to use all that’s in can, give it to a neighbor who can use it. Or ultimately, if you have a damaged one that is a new can, you may take it back to the place you bought it for replacement. In the case of old cans, say, with a sticky nozzle, most communities have an annual or monthly special waste collection day. The full or partially full cans can go to that activity for appropriate treatment.”

Too many aerosol cans are taking up landfill space while valuable steel is not being recycled and reused as efficiently as it could be. “Remember, just because the program may not have formally allowed them, that doesn’t mean they’re not getting recycled,” Crawford concluded. “So, it’s up to the resident to realize that the empty steel aerosol cans should be recycled just like any other steel can and get to the right place. The Steel Recycling Institute is pleased to help communities add empty steel aerosol cans to the mix of recyclables diverted from solid waste for recycling.”

For questions related to the recycling of your steel aerosol cans, contact the Steel Recycling Institute via its website at http://recycle-steel.org.

Archive: Response to Aluminum vs. Steel Recycling by 1800Recycle

Today I saw an article By Melissa Hincha-Ownby pushed through 1800Recycling.Com comparing steel and aluminum recycling. The article seemed to start with the assumption that putting one item in your curbside recycling bin would be any easier than placing another. 

Recycling paper products is as easy as putting them in your recycling container and dropping them off at a neighborhood collection center. Unfortunately, recycling metals isn’t always as simple.

Fact is, that the vast majority of Americans have very easy, convenient access to recycle many common household materials, including paper, plastics, glass, aluminum and steel. 

Not a single one of the materials are more difficult than others to put into recycling bins–unless you get into having to separate different types of papers, plastics and/or glasses. 

According to the Steel Recycling Institute, steel is the most recycled material in North America, due in part to the fact that steel (like most of its metal counterparts) can be recycled infinitely and it is used in a variety of applications and industries. While a good portion of steel comes from the commercial sector, there are also residential sources for steel recycling, including appliances and the steel in our autos.

Steel is indeed the most recycled material in the world, and it’s definitely not because it is difficult to recycle. 

Fact is, that the steel food can (which the article forgot to mention) has the highest recycling rate of any food/beverage package at 65 percent. This is largely because the steel can is recyclable through more than 95 percent of our nation’s curbside recycling programs. In fact, more than 150 million Americans have convenient curbside access to recycling steel in more than 7,500 curbside programs. And, that’s just the cans.

However, recycling an old refrigerator or the rust bucket in the back yard isn’t exactly quick and easy. There are hazardous waste guidelines that must be adhered to, so you’ll have to do some research to find a scrap metal recycler in your area that can take these items off your hands. Once you find a location, you’ll have to tackle the challenge of transporting the item. While steel is the most recycled material in North America, it isn’t the easiest to recycle.

Consumers rarely, if ever, have a direct hand in recycling their appliances or cars. It’s left to the professionals who have made it quite easy for consumers to offload their cars and appliances. 

When cars get their last trade-in, or if they’re taken to the “junk yard,” their cars are actually being dismantled for any reusable parts, stripped of any wastes or non recyclables, then shredded into fist-sized chunks of steel, and, yet again, recycled. This is entirely handled by licensed professionals and it is as easy as a trade-in or a trip to the scrap processor to start the recycling process.

It is also quite easy for consumers to recycle their appliances. Most often, consumers send away their old appliances with the delivery company that brings their new appliance. It’s that easy for them. These delivery companies take the appliances, in bulk, to processors which efficiently remove any refrigerants and non-recyclables. And, like their car cousins, they are shredded into small chunks of steel which are recycled as well.

On the opposite end of the consumer-recycling-ease spectrum is aluminum. Aluminum isn’t heavy, so there isn’t going to be a significant cost to transport the product and most residential recycling programs readily accept aluminum cans.

Most consumers aren’t toting around their recyclables. The same, rare consumers that MIGHT carry them around would find similar ease in recycling their steel food packages as their aluminum beverage cans.

For the most part, aluminum is one of the easiest metals to recycle from the consumer standpoint. Too bad steel isn’t as simple to recycle as aluminum.

Melissa really should’ve done her homework here! Steel is very easily recycled because of its magnetic attraction. Therefore, steel cans, as well as all forms of steel scrap, are easily pulled from any commingled recyclables or other non-recyclables, by magnets. No sorting needed like paper, plastics, aluminum and glass. The separated steel is efficiently used by steel companies to offset the consumption of raw materials and even energy. 

So, there is a reason that more steel is recycled each year than paper, plastic, glass and aluminum combined — it is because steel is easy for all to recycle.

Just in case you need help in finding a location to recycle your steel, check out the Steel Recycling Locator. The Locator tracks more than 30,000 steel recycling options throughout the US and will tell you the location closest, and easiest to you to recycle your steel. 

We are always available to help you learn the facts about steel recycling. Please do not hesitate to contact us. 

Archive: Your Recycling Program Forbids the Steel Lids?

This blog is from an article I wrote for the Pennsylvania Recycler for a section they do to address myths related to recycling. The article was a hit with them. Thought you might be able to use the information as well. It’s on myths related to the recycling of steel lids and closures…

Your Recycling Program Forbids the Steel Lids?
They May Be Dealing With Information That Is On the Skids

This edition of Mythbusters will bring “closure” to concerns about recycling the steel can’s sidekick—steel lids. Is there a quid pro quo as far as steel lids go? Let’s take a look.

More than 95 percent of all canned foods are packaged in steel containers. This package includes the steel lids that are used to lock in the freshness of the can’s contents.

Each year nearly 30 billion steel cans are produced. And, in recent decades, the steel can has gone from being considered a recyclable reject to the most recycled food and beverage container in North America. Today, more than 145 million Americans can recycle their steel cans in more than 7,500 curbside recycling programs accepting steel cans.

This success has had some notable consequences—namely bringing more than 18 billion cans a year into recycling bins and giving steel cans the recycling rate of 65% for 2007. That’s a more than 430% increase in the steel can recycling rate since 1988!

But, for some, it seems a flap in this success story still lingers with questions of what to do with the steel lids that, well, are a part of the package.

With the high-tech equipment and handling of every type of recyclable that goes through the bins, careful considerations are made about anything that comes into the bin.

We’ve heard some rattling around about dated concerns about lids creeping their way into the bins. But, consensus seems to be that steel lids have been recycled along with their cans as long as cans have been in the bin. So, the myths about lids would seem to be BUSTED right out of the can.

But, given that the lids are a part of the package and this IS Mythbusters, we wanted to take a look at some of these concerns just to see if they have mettle.

M: Lids are small and inconsequential, are they worth recycling at all?
A: Each year, 2.3 million tons of steel go into making new steel cans and lids. The lids can represent up to 5% of the weight of the can. That 5% represents nearly 115,000 tons of steel that would simply be excluded. For every ton of steel recycled, more than 2500 pounds of iron ore, 1000 pounds of coal and 40 pounds of limestone are conserved. So, to blanket exclude steel lids and closures is to essentially consume an additional 115,000 tons of iron ore, 115,000,000 pounds of coal and 40,000 pounds of limestone. This is on top of the more than 29% energy savings that comes to the steelmaking process via recycling. A quick look at our scales and natural resources says the myth of recycling steel lids being inconsequential weighs in at BUSTED!

M: Lids have sharp edges and pose a risk to handlers
A: Steel lids have a good thing going for them. They’re made of steel. Thanks to their steel, they’re subject to magnetic attraction. So, while even in the most mixed of mixed waste facilities where some materials need to be identified and sorted by hands, magnets are still run over the belts which automatically separates steel cans of all sorts, as well as their steel lids. This means that any lids that may be loose in the bins often go untouched by human hands from collection to processing thanks to bins, belts and steel’s magnetic attraction. The facts seem to cut right through this myth, we declare it BUSTED!

M: The steel lids are small and loose and can get caught in equipment or belts.
A: Steel lids are undoubtedly small, as are the thin walls of their cans—especially when they’ve been flattened as they are in many commercial facilities. The fact is, as programs strive to capture every bit of recyclable material, all recyclables are getting smaller, and the equipment being used to sort and process these recyclables are sealed, protected and walled to prevent any wondering recyclables. As indicated in our test above, steel’s time on the sorting belts is very limited. Normally, right out of the chute, steel is pulled from the stream by magnets and is quickly condensed with other steel scrap on its way to be processed. We’ve heard the talk. We’ve looked into it. When it comes to the concern that size matters when it comes to processing, the lids have material over size. This myth is BUSTED!

The common theme with many of the myths concerning lids seems to be related to their size and mobility as they move through the recycling process. I spoke to Gregory L. Crawford, Vice President of Operations for the Steel Recycling Institute. Mr. Crawford says if you’re having trouble bringing closure to your concerns about lids, there are some steps you can take to minimize these concerns.

Try talking to the programs that are collecting steel cans. They often have open channels of communications with their customers on what they put into their bins. Ask them to encourage consumers that when cans are opened, to stop short of removing the lid–instead leaving a small part connected so the lid can be tucked back inside the can. But on the chance that the lid is completely removed, it can be put back into the can and then the top of the can can be crushed by foot so the lid doesn’t fall out.

In all, given the established success of recycling steel cans and their lids for more than 20 years, we consider these myths collectively BUSTED!

The Steel Recycling Institute (SRI), a unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute, is an industry association dedicated to communicating the sustainable efforts of the North American steel industry. The SRI educates the solid waste industry, government, business and ultimately the consumer about the benefits of steel’s recycling accomplishments and advancements in sustainability. For more information on the steel industry’s sustainable efforts visit: www.recycle-steel.org or www.sustainable-steel.org.

Archive: “Metaling” With Your Car And The Environments: Should the auto industry make a shift from steel or is aluminum just blowing smoke?

There has been a lot of talk circulating in the media and advertising arenas about the alleged benefits for automakers to shift from steel to aluminum in automobiles. The aluminum industry has invested a great deal of money into advertising their material and marketing it to auto manufacturers.

The aluminum industry claims that because aluminum is lighter than steel, auto makers can use it to build cars that will burn less fuel during their lifetimes and thus, emit fewer harmful tailpipe emissions, including CO2.

However, what they’re not telling automakers is that producing one ton of virgin aluminum generates approximately 10 times more CO2 emissions than the production of a ton of steel, which always has recycled content.

This is before even considering the advantages of implementing new steel technologies, which can reduce the weight of a car by more than 30 percent while maintaining the vehicle’s strength and integrity.

According to research by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), when compared to the latest steel technologies, it would take more than two decades of aluminum-intensive vehicles to try and offset the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) put into the atmosphere by the production of the aluminum needed to build those vehicles.

This study conducted by MIT’s Material Systems Laboratory examines the comprehensive environmental impact of CO2 emissions and other polluting substance resulting from the production and use of various automotive, manufacturing materials, including aluminum, steel and composites.

The study takes into consideration the CO2 emitted when generating electricity for production, the amount of time required to offset the initial atmospheric burden consumed when producing aluminum, and the amount created during production, verses any environmental benefits derived from the use of aluminum, among other factors.

The steel industry has made great environmental strides both in product and production. According to the EPA, using recycled steel to make new steel reduced air emissions by 86 percent, water use by 40 percent, water emissions by 97
percent, and mining waste by 97 percent.

Steel’s recycled content has also given steel stability in pricing which contributes to the stable price for products made from steel.

The aluminum industry has made an investment in developing newer, stronger and more environmentally-friendly steels. The new steel. Feel the strength!

Archive: The Impact of Imports

The unrestricted flow of illegal steel imports into the United States is doing more than costing jobs and closing plants. It has also had a substantial impact on the volume of steel that’s being recycled. Production cutbacks by U.S. producers have chopped demand and price of scrap steel, reversing a ten-year trend of increased recycling.

U.S. steel mills were at the peak of their efficiency, consuming record volumes of steel scrap to make new steel.

However, global economic instability has let to record heights in foreign exporting of steel. Foreign governments, in hoes of bringing hard currency to their economy, subsidized their steel industries, enabling them to export steel to the U.S. for prices lower than the actual costs of production. These slanted prices had a dramatic impact on the U.S. steel industry, as well as related industries and organizations.

Last year, the value of scrap steel dropped by almost 50 percent, cutting the amount of steel recycled from cans, automobiles, appliances and construction. And, while steel recycling has wide-reaching environmental benefits, it is the economics of steel recycling that keeps the steel recycling cycle in motion.

Although the import crisis has shown signs of passing, the impact left from the unregulated imports will be felt throughout the steel and recycling industries for some time to come.

Anticipating this market turnaround, scrap processors have continued to purchase and stockpile steel scrap. This stockpile will serve as a reserve as production rebounds in the U.S.

Steel scrap continues to be a vital ingredient in the production of new steel, and as steel production rebounds, so too will the demand for steel scrap.

Archive: Magnetic Property of Steel Separates it from Other Recyclable Materials

What unique property does steel have that other recyclable materials don’t? Everyone with a motley assortment of magnets stuck to their refrigerator should know the answer to this question. Steel is attracted to a magnet.

Home refrigerators everywhere are plastered with mosaics of family photos, favorite recipes and important phone numbers, all clumped under a collection of magnets from a tacky tourist trap meant to commemorate last summer’s vacation. And before that invention of the sticky Post-it note, the refrigerator magnet was arguably the best way to hang a hastily scripted message to someone. We’re all inevitably drawn to the refrigerator by hunger, and so the message was sure to be seen and read.

But steel’s magnetic property comes in a little more handy in the world of solid waste management. You could even say it separates steel from all other types of recyclable materials.

One of the tricky parts of recycling is how to best separate the recyclables. Engineers have harnessed the natural power of magnetism to sort steel products from the solid waste stream. When commingled recyclables arrive at a material recovery facility, empty steel food, paint and aerosol cans are often the first products to be culled from the mix. At most facilities, the recyclables are loaded onto a conveyor belt and passed under a magnetic conveyor belt, which quickly and efficiently pulls steel containers out of the mix. The remaining materials continue along the original conveyor belt to undergo manual or mechanical sorting.

Steel’s magnetic attraction does more than just help steel cans to be cleanly and efficiently sorted at a material recovery facility. It also allows steel cans to be collected from the municipal solid waste stream in ways other materials can’t. For instance, there are 98 resource recovery facilities that recycle steel cans and combust municipal solid waste into energy or create refuse derived fuel. At these facilities steel cans are magnetically separated from the waste stream along with other iron and steel items, and shipped to a steel mill for recycling. Nearly half of the 40 million Americans facilities live in communities that do not offer curbside or drop-off recycling programs for steel cans. But thanks to steel’s magnetic property, the steel is automatically separated for recycling. Think about it, 20 million Americans are recycling virtually 100 percent of the steel cans that they use, simply by disposing of them, because the containers are efficiently separated with a magnet at the resource recovery facility.

And when it comes to appliances, those same magnetic properties that held your refrigerator magnets in place when it was in your kitchen, bring similar benefits when it is time to recycle the appliance. Appliances, when no longer operational, are dismantled and then torn apart in a shredder. This is done to break down the individual materials used to make the appliance. Steel again pulls away from the rest as the shredded appliance passes under the magnetic belts at the end of the shredder.

Steel’s magnetic property is also very useful when it comes to moving steel materials. Whether it’s a crushed automobile weighing up to a ton or a bale of steel cans weighing several hundred pounds, electromagnets make it easy to lift and move steel scrap.

So next time you hang your child’s report card or a clipping of your favorite cartoon on the refrigerator, remember that steel’s magnetic property comes in handy both during your appliance’s useful life-and especially after.

Archive: I’m a teenage sacrificial lamb

What did I do? Every time I read about you, the State College Borough Council, I find myself asking that question. You seven make laws that tell me where I can live, where I can park and how many people I can live with — all in the name of a democratic system.

That is a lot of power over somebody who does not count in council because I cannot vote in their elections. Because my voter registration is not local, I cannot vote for somebody who represents my opinion and my signature does not count on petitions appearing before council. Yet still almost every council decision has a direct effect on me. Can you say fascism, boys and girls?

You, the council, say these laws are not aimed at the students, come on now, who are you kidding?! Can I park anywhere near the campus for less than $30 a month? Can I try to decrease my living expenses by living with three or four friends? Can my friends and I live wherever we choose? Gee, is seems your actions might affect me just a little.

If anything is more obviously aimed at us students it is the ingenious rollback parking. The fact that there has to be a fleet of tow trucks on the roads 24 hours a day should have given you a clue that there is a parking problem. Look further and you can see the trail of cars with the blinking four-way flashers scattered throughout the streets or you can see the herd of meter maids that matches the population of my home town. Could this be an indication that there just isn’t enough affordable parking around? I know, council had better ideas –eliminate the non-student parking throughout the residential area and cut parking downtown in half. That should clear things up!

Sure, everybody has time to run all the way back, feed a meter at the McAllister parking garage every hour while they shop or whatever downtown.

I acknowledge your futile efforts to cut down traffic, and attempts to eliminate the bumper-to-bumper parking in front of people’s homes, but fact is, if there was enough affordable parking to begin with, this problem would never have existed in the first place. But, of course, if you can’t profit from it you won’t hear of it.

Fact is, because I can do nothing to help in a possible re-election, my opinion will not be heard in council. Example: Last fall you refused a petition to reopen debate on the rollback parking. The excuse was that too few of the signatures were by registered voters in the State College area. In other words, the signatures were from people who cannot help the re-election, so why in the world would you do anything so strenuous as reopen a debate for us. It doesn’t matter that most students live here nine months of the year, or that the downtown business district wouldn’t exist without the students, or even that students bring in over 100,000 people to businesses and hotels here on football weekends. This is all taken for granted, the borough needs more money so they impound student’s cars, give students tickets and charge us a fortune for parking.

Believe it or not, some people are not from State College, and do find it necessary to drive. But because of the unaffordable parking and housing in the area, I am forced to get a full-time job. How can I afford to work if I am paying more to park than I am being paid to work here?

Then at the end of the day, if the borough has not made a new housing code, I can return to my apartment. Lucky for me a couple of my five roommates are related. Still council is trying to hide behind an old housing code limiting the number of unrelated tenants in certain residential areas. Sorry guys, I had to shack up with a few friends so that I can afford to park here.

“There isn’t anyone who has more opportunity for housing than students,” said council member Ruth Lavin. “It isn’t aimed at any particular population. It’s not a student vs. non-student issue.”

Ms. Lavin, have you looked at apartment prices lately? If the council were able to promise students affordable housing, we wouldn’t have to spill into your residential area. We don’t move into residential areas because we don’t like to live with our peers or because they are close to campus, it is because we cannot afford to live elsewhere. If you look to pay less than $1,200 a month, that is when you run into the apartments you can’t tell from slums.

How can you say that the ordinance is not aimed at a particular group? Excluding students (and nuns), where else will you find more than three unrelated people living together?

Students are not health hazards; I have seen family households worse than any student abode. Despite your presumptions, we are not all fresh off the set of Animal House. Some of us are quite capable of running quiet, normal households.

I don’t believe you hate the students, but I do question if you are representing the masses, or if you are representing the people who can re-elect them.

Whether you wish to acknowledge it or not, our existence is to State College’s benefit. I don’t understand why you council members continue to bite the hand that feeds you. If the borough found students affordable quality housing you wouldn’t have to hide behind some occupancy law that somebody tripped on in the archives.

Likewise, if the borough had available parking, you wouldn’t have to worry about charging your own residents to park in front of their own homes. By the way, you could also save a bundle on the army of meter maids, but if you are still that hard up for funds you can always tax air, I hear the going rate is $2 per cubic inch.

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