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Recycling: Everyone's Doing It (In One Sense or Another...)


What are some of the ways that companies - and people - are recycling?


A report from the Environmental Protection Agency says that, since 1994, Anheuser-Busch (BUD) has achieved a company-wide 97% recycling rate.

As the world's largest recyclers of aluminum cans, A-B recycles 815 million pounds (roughly 369,000 metric tons) of aluminum beverage containers-almost 28 billion cans-per year. In 2003, the amount of energy saved from recycling aluminum cans was equivalent to 15 million barrels of oil.

This year the company will transition to smaller lids for its beer cans, which is expected to save 20 million pounds of aluminum.

Using the EPA's Waste Reduction Model (WARM), A-B reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 1.67 million metric tons of carbon equivalent, which is equal to the annual emission from 1.3 million cars.

Anheuser-Busch sure isn't recycling ideas. The brewer's advertising continues to be among the most creative in the industry-helping them lock up a 48.8% share of U.S. beer sales.

Besides advertising their products, A-B Executive Vice President for Global Industry Development Bob Lachky would also like to advertise the health benefits of beer.

"There is a prevailing fallacy that wine is somehow healthy and beer is not," he said.

Bob Lachky

Beer contains vitamin B6 which prevents the build up in the body of a chemical called homocysteine-thought to be linked to an increase in the risk of heart disease.

Dr. Henk Hendriks from the TNO Nutrition and Food Research Institute told BBC News Online: "Moderate alcohol consumption affects many processes in the body, one of which is the significant increase in HDL cholesterol-the good cholesterol."

Atta boy! You're getting off to a good, healthy start…

However, no matter how healthy one stays by drinking beer (at the rate I'm going, I've got many hale, hearty years ahead of me), the simple fact is, we'll all die eventually.

Now, the dead are being "recycled' too-into art.

Damien Hirst, the enfant terrible of the British art world, has recycled the skull of a "European who died at about 35, sometime between 1720 and 1810."

Damien Hirst

"For the Love of God," as the piece is called, is coated in platinum and covered in 8,601 "ethically sourced" diamonds, including a 52.40 carat stone attached to the middle of the forehead.

It is being offered for £50 million, or $98,451,161.65 million, which, if it sells, will make it the most expensive new work of art ever made.

Not a bad return for Mr. Hirst and his gallery White Cube-the piece cost £12 million, or $23,627,095.74 million, to make.

For the love of god, "For the Love of God" is expensive…

Now, Hirst is being accused of "recycling" someone else's idea for "For the Love of God".

Butler & Wilson, a jewelry store in central London, sees an uncanny similarity to a crystal-encrusted skull pendant they sell for £128.

Jen Porritt, Butler & Wilson's stock controller, told the Daily Mail: "I don't know if Damien has ever been in and bought anything from the range, but...there is definitely a likeness."

Butler & Wilson's skull pendant

Hirst has been accused of recycling before. Last year, computer artist Robert Dixon claimed Hirst had "recycled" a 1984 design of his into a piece called "Valium."

Damien Hirst's "Valium" (top) and Robert Dixon's "True Daisy" (bottom)

And in 2000, Hirst agreed to a financial settlement with toy company Humbrol after "recycling" a £14.99 anatomical model into a £1 million sculpture called "Hymn."

Humbrol's model Hirst's "Hymn"

Over the years, artists at the Walt Disney Company (DIS) recycled to save money, not the earth. It cost considerably less to "re-purpose" already-animated frames rather than render new ones from scratch:

Winnie the Pooh

The Jungle Book

Winnie the Pooh

The Jungle Book

The Sword in the Stone

The Jungle Book

Of course, there are those who feel altogether differently about recycling:

I guess that's what makes horse racing.

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