From Bin to Can: Unveiling the Journey of Aluminum Can Recycling- 6/7/23


  • Let’s talk aluminum cans!
  • Have you ever wondered what happens after you throw an aluminum can in your green recycling bin at home or bring it into your local scrap yard?
  • Well first, they are sorted and then are typically compressed into bales for easier handling and transportation, like the ones you see right behind me!
  • These bales then arrive at an aluminum processing mill and are loaded onto a conveyor that feeds into a shredder.
  • There are many steps that the bales go through to make sure it is just aluminum going in the melting pots.
  • There are things like an optical sorter that uses infrared sensors to separate the metal from non-metal.
  • Air jets blast away any plastic or glass, leaving only aluminum.
  • And A powerful magnet removes any scraps of steel.
  • Then what is left is shredded aluminum chips that are then melted in furnaces at high temperatures.
  • The molten aluminum is poured into molds to create ingots.
  • The ingots are then transported to a rolling mill where they are heated and passed through rollers to make thin sheets.
  • These thin sheets are then formed to create a new aluminum can!
  • Aluminum cans can be recycled repeatedly, and the process continues to save energy and resources.


Acceptable Materials

Appliances including:
  • Stoves
  • Microwaves
  • Washers and Dryers
  • Dishwashers
  • FOR A $10 FEE—Air Conditioners

End of Life Items Including:
  • Machinery (all fluids,pans and cylinders removed)
  • Farm Equipment
  • Farm Machinery
  • Lawnmowers
  • Cast Iron Patio Furniture
  • Cast Iron Outdoor Railing
  • Sheet Metal
  • Steel Wheels
  • Steel

Nonferrous Scrap:
  • Aluminum
  • Aluminum Cans
  • Aluminum Pots and Pans
  • Aluminum Siding/Gutters/Downspouts
  • Aluminum Patio Furniture
  • Aluminum Wheels
  • Aluminum Wire
  • Auto Batteries
  • Brass Fixtures/Lamps Decorative items
  • Cable, Fence and Wire
  • Christmas Lights
  • Copper
  • Copper and Brass Plumbing Pipes
  • Copper and Brass Plumbing Valves and Connectors
  • Copper Tubing
  • Copper Wire
  • Electric Motors
  • Insulated Wire
  • Radiators
  • Screen Doors/Windows (glass removed)
  • Stainless Steel

Prohibited Materials

  • Acetylene Cylinders
  • Asbestos or Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM)- applies to both fibrous and solid materials
  • Any Scrap Containing Refrigerants (CFC or HCFC) (Freezers, Refrigerators)  Air Conditioners are accepted for a $10 fee
  • Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT/tube-style computer monitors or televisions)
  • Closed Compressed Gas Cylinders – high pressure cylinders with valve intact
  • Combustible or Flammable Materials – fuels, paints, degreasers, unpunctured aerosol cans
  • Corrosive Materials – highly acidic or caustic materials (battery acid, caustic soda, etc.)
  • Explosive Materials, Munitions, Shell Casings – includes suspect military scrap
  • Free Flowing Liquids (including water)
  • Hazardous Waste – toxic or poisonous materials or wastes
  • Infectious Materials – blood-soaked or biohazard items
  • Liquids or Scrap Containing Free Flowing Liquids – fuels, antifreeze, oils, hydraulic fluid, paints
  • Mercury Containing Materials – mercury-containing thermostats, switches or fluorescent light bulbs
  • Non-Metallic Items – concrete, wood, asphalt, dirt, debris, tires (more than 5 per auto)
  • PCB-Containing Materials
  • Whole tanks uncut
  • Radioactive Scrap – anything exhibiting radiation levels above background
  • Scrap with Small Capacitors that contain 50 ppm of PCBs