Interested in Aluminum Recycling? Helpful Tips for a Better Experience

While the term "aluminum recycling" may conjure up visions of washing aluminum foil in the kitchen sink so it can be used again and again, it actually refers to the recycling of aluminum from many sources. In fact, sites that post lists of recyclable metals and the prices they are currently bringing on the scrap metals market typically list scores of different types of aluminum, ranging from die-cast aluminum to scrap aluminum left over from manufacturing processes or building projects. 

The good news is that market prices for aluminum are often one of the most profitable metals to recycle, with a scrap metal price per pound higher than both copper and brass. Those who have become interested in the recycling of aluminum may find the following information to be helpful in starting an aluminum recycling hobby or business venture. 

What is a good source of aluminum for new recyclers to focus on? 

When new to recycling, it can be helpful to have information about some of the best sources of metal that you plan to recycle. For aluminum, one of the best sources is the aluminum beverage can that is used by nearly all beer and soda manufacturers. To get an idea of the potential value of aluminum cans, Cornell University has published information that states that it takes approximately 24 empty beverage cans to equal a pound of aluminum. Using an example of a 0.60 cent value per pound, one train boxcar filled with properly processed aluminum beverage cans would be valued at approximately $48,000. 

What should new recyclers know about preparing aluminum cans for recycling?

One of the first things to realize about recycling aluminum beverage cans is that they are very bulky. Storing the bulky cans until they can be hauled to the aluminum recycling center can be difficult for a beginning recycler to do, especially one who is working from their garage or a backyard shed. Buying or building a device that can be used to easily crush each can is one way in which the cans can be reduced in size so that more cans can be collected and stored in a relatively small area until sold for scrap. 

Those who are new to recycling aluminum will also need to know that it is important that: 

  • all cans are sorted to ensure that those made of other metals are excluded 
  • the cans should be emptied of their contents 
  • the cans must not have other types of scrap metal, trash, or debris inserted into the openings of the cans or mixed into the sorted aluminum

Aluminum recyclers should also be aware that some states have a bottle bill that can affect the price that will be paid for aluminum beverage containers. To learn more about this type of scrap metal recycling, contact a recycling center such as Gutterman Iron & Metal Corp.