National Stockpile:

Could Recycled DOD Aluminum Be Used To Meet the Current Aluminum Need?

RCED-86-23: Published: Nov 4, 1985. Publicly Released: Nov 14, 1985.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO considered the legal, technical, and economic feasibility of recycling scrap aluminum for use in the National Defense Stockpile. GAO focused on aluminum because the: (1) stockpiled supply of aluminum is less than 1 percent of the amount set as a stockpile goal; and (2) the Department of Defense (DOD) generates large amounts of scrap aluminum.

GAO found that DOD aluminum scrap could be used for the stockpile, but: (1) the scrap would have to be melted down to determine its exact aluminum content; (2) the specifications for the stockpile would have to be modified to allow for the storage of the lower-grade aluminum that would be recovered; and (3) recycling of DOD scrap aluminum would be impractical because it would increase the stockpile by less than 1 percent of the goal for aluminum annually. In addition, GAO found that: (1) if DOD scrap aluminum were diverted for stockpile needs, the government would not receive about $5.1 million annually that it currently receives from sales of the aluminum; (2) for the same amount of money, the government could purchase about the same amount of aluminum as could be recycled; and (3) DOD would need additional appropriations to carry out a recycling program, while direct purchases of aluminum could be made from the National Defense Stockpile Transaction Fund.

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