Manufacturers everywhere — and especially metalcasters — have numerous widely used and frequently repeated catchphrases to describe their projects and strategies, terms such as “carbon footprint,” “going green,” “zero discharge,” and “beneficial reuse.”  The purpose of these phrases is persuasion: to persuade us of the importance of preserving natural resources for future generations’ use and benefit.  Some people adopt this jargon to be fashionable, while others are totally committed to the cause of reducing environmental impacts.

A medium-sized foundry accumulated over 6,200 tons of metal fines from its melting operation, with no place except the dump to dispose of that waste material.  Not accepting the dump as an option, a team of foundry engineers began researching other possibilities.

It was at this point that Didion enters the story: A series of tests were conducted to determine the useable metallic content of the waste stream that had been accumulating at the foundry over the previous four years.

The first test was completed, the results tabulated, and the material was returned to the foundry.  Not long after receiving the test results and the material, the foundry operators called to request a second test:  They couldn’t believe the waste stream had such a high — i.e., valuable — metallic content.  Perhaps they had drawn the sample from a rich part of the pile?  After a second and third test were completed, confirming the original results, the foundry managers and operators were truly excited by the possibilities of financial recovery, and the anticipated cost savings for their future.