Aluminum is one of the most recycled materials in America. The recycling rate for aluminum is at 70% and climbing, which helps keep it out of landfills. It’s also one of the most valuable materials to recycle, with scrap metal prices reaching $3 a pound in today’s market.
Given this great news about recycling aluminum and its value, why don’t we do more? One reason may be that we just aren’t very good at recycling yet. With these five tips, you can do your part and recycle more aluminum successfully.
Choose the right receptacle for collecting aluminum scrap.
The first step towards becoming an effective recycler of aluminum starts with choosing the right place for collecting aluminum pieces and scrap metal. Aluminum cans, for instance, are considered one of the most valuable types of aluminum to recycle. They are also relatively easy to store and transport due to their small size. As a result, they’re a great option for aluminum recycling at home through community curbside programs or at work in a dedicated recycling room or bin.
After sorting aluminum cans from other recyclable waste products and trash, the next step is to flatten them before taking them to the recycling center. Flattened cans weigh significantly less than intact ones and can be more easily sorted by machinery so that they can be melted and reused again in the future.
Know what you can recycle and where to recycle it.
Many people don’t realize that not all cans are recyclable. For example, American beer makers use non-recyclable steel cans instead of those made with aluminum. Liquor and wine bottles also aren’t made from recycled aluminum, so recycling these containers is not only a waste of valuable materials, but it’s harmful to the quality of new anode rods in aluminum smelters.
Recycle small pieces
Even the most minor pieces of aluminum can be recycled. The recycling process breaks down material through shredding, and small pieces help with the overall quality of the final product when they are melted down. Enough small pieces will even make up for a few large ones and won’t affect the price.
Know where your recycling is processed
If you’re selling aluminum pieces, you want to get the most money for your efforts. If your city doesn’t have an anode rod-making facility or an aluminum smelter within its limits, then the only marketable aluminum pieces may come from other towns. This means they’ll need more time to find buyers willing to pay more for this vital metal.
Recycle often and responsibly
If you’re trying to recycle large chunks of metal like radiators or filing cabinets, you might be surprised when they don’t get recycled. Aluminum can lose up to 80 percent of its value when shredded into pieces larger than six inches long. This means that if your friends help you out by bringing in their cans and other recyclable parts, you’ll benefit the most from their efforts.
These are just some of the best recycling tips you can do with aluminum. Be sure to recycle the right way and help save Mother Earth today.