There is a significant difference in how Iceland’s aluminium smelters
dispose of their waste, with some being “greener” than others.
RÚV reports on three different smelters. Alcoa Fjarðaráls in Reyðarfjörður,
for one, has some 336 cauldrons which are renewed every few years. Old
cauldrons are broken down and sent to Britain, where they are then
turned into cement.
However, the smelters at Straumsvík and at Grundartanga put their waste
in containers and then dispose of it at sea. The smelter at
Grundartanga does a yearly environmental assessment of the effects of
their waste, and their 2010 data indicates no negative impact. Which is
extraordinary, considering that among the other substances disposed of
at sea, there includes copper, arsenic and lead.
Straumsvík only does environmental assessments every five years. Their 2008 data also shows no significant environmental impact.
Environmental assessments are conducted by the smelters, at their cost.
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