How to Recycle Aluminum

Two Methods:Recycling at HomeRecycling in Your Community

As the most plentiful metal on earth, aluminum is used to make soda cans, car parts, appliances and many other products. Aluminum is also a highly recyclable product that can be used again and again. Scroll down to Step 1 to find out how you can recycle your aluminum products.

Method 1
Recycling at Home

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    Create a recycling bin for your home. Make it easier to remember to recycle aluminum by designating a bin for all of your recyclables. Place the bin in your kitchen so that it will serve as a reminder to recycle as you are cooking and eating. This bin can be a regular trash can that now only accepts recyclables, a plastic container, or even a brown paper bag. Place your recycling bin next to your trash can and make sure that your whole family knows what can and cannot go in it. Of course, aluminum products like soda cans and foil can definitely be placed in the bin.
    • If you need help remembering what items can be recycled, make a list of those items and tape it to your new recycling bin.
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    Find out where your city’s large recycling centers are located. These recycling centers are where you can bring your recyclables, including aluminum. The center generally has separate bins where your aluminum, glass, and paper are separated. If you are not sure where your town’s center is located, run an internet search or contact your city government. In most cases, the recycling center will be operated by the Wastes Services Department.[1]
    • You can also go to to look for aluminum recycling near you.
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    Earn money by recycling aluminum cans. Many recycling plants will actually pay for aluminum products that you bring to their on-site facility or to one of their recycling machines that may be located throughout your community. This is because aluminum is the most recyclable materials--in fact, 100% of an aluminum can can be recycled to create a new aluminum can. If you don’t know where your local recycling plant is, run an internet search to find its address.
    • If you bring in 20 cans, you will receive roughly $1.00 in the United States. Start saving up your aluminum cans.
    • In the United States, more than $800,000,000 is paid for aluminum cans brought to recycling plants each year.

Method 2
Recycling in Your Community

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    Lobby for a curbside recycling program if your community doesn’t have one. Most towns and cities provide their residents with a curbside recycling program that occurs on the same day as garbage day. Trucks come buy and pick up your recyclables, which should be placed in the large blue recycling bin provided by the program. As the most recyclable material, aluminum is always a part of curbside recycling. To get this program going in your community, you should:
    • Raise the awareness of other members of your community. Pass out flyers discussing why recycling is important and what a curbside recycling program could do for your community. For instance, explain to them that throwing away a single aluminum can, rather than recycling it, is like dumping out six ounces of gasoline.
    • Talk with leaders of your local government. Explain to them that you and other community members think it is very important that a curbside program gets implemented.[2]
    • Create a petition and get community members to sign in it to show your local government that you are serious.
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    Give your aluminum cans to charities. Many charities, school classes, and scouting programs pay for projects and services with money earned by recycling items like aluminum. All you have to do is bring a bag of your recyclables--including your aluminum cans--to the organization’s drop off point. To find any organizations that might be running a recycling donation program in your area, check out your community boards, contact local schools, or run an online search.
    • Habitat for Humanity, which is located in many different regions, often runs a Cans for Habitat program that will happily accept any recyclable donations.[3]
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    Start a recycling program at work. In particular, aluminum recycling is really important in the work place. In fact, employees average two and a half canned drinks each day--those cans are all made out of aluminum. Ask your boss to invest in some recycling cans that can be placed next to the trash cans in the office. If she or he is busy but gives you the go ahead, purchase some large trash cans in bright colors and label them as recycling cans. If recycling is really new to your office, send out an email or hang up a flyer next to the recycling bin informing the other employees about what can and cannot go into the recycling bin.


  • Pick out a colorful bin to use as your recycling bin–it will make it easier to distinguish it from the trash can.

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Categories: Reduce Recycle and Reuse