5 Reasons To Recycle Aluminum Cans Even If You Don't Need The Cash

Posted on: 25 August 2015

Aluminum recycling is heavily promoted in communities and encouraged by scrap yard owners. Nevertheless, some individuals feel like it's too big of a chore to bother. Especially in rural areas with no municipal garbage pickup, it may seem easier to throw aluminum cans in the trash compared with sorting them and hauling them to the town recycling center or independent companies, such as Cen-Tex Scrap & Metal Inc.

You may figure it's simply not worth the cash you get for the effort. However, there are other important reasons to recycle aluminum. 

Aluminum Can Be Recycled Indefinitely

No matter how many times aluminum is recycled, the basic material doesn't change. After the metal is shredded and melted at high heat in a smelter, it has the same physical properties as raw aluminum does. 

Recycling Allows a Less Intensive Process

If not enough recycled aluminum is available, manufacturers must turn to virgin metal. That comes from mining.

Once the raw ore is transported to a smelter, the aluminum must be extracted. This process requires 95 percent more energy than does melting aluminum that's already in its pure form since the smelter needs to use much higher heat to extract aluminum than simply to melt the existing metal.

Virgin metal also must be refined, which isn't necessary with existing aluminum.

Consumers Save Money

Manufacturers pass along savings to their consumers who would otherwise have to pay more for items made of larger amounts of virgin aluminum. Instead, the manufacturers essentially turn used aluminum cans into all sorts of useful consumer goods, such as:

  • more aluminum cans
  • pots and pans
  • lawn furniture
  • bicycles
  • automobiles

You Lower the Burden on Landfills

The more junk that gets buried in landfills, the more land is used up just to deal with trash. It can take up to 200 years for one aluminum can to decompose.

Other People Can Use the Cash

Consider asking kids in your neighborhood if they want the cans. Youngsters may be happy to pick up these items so they can get money for them. All you'd need is a separate container or a garbage bag where you put the cans. 

You also might ask a charitable organization you support if they want the cans. Many organizations even have recycling containers outside where you can drop them off. You'd probably need to deliver them, but that could be a convenient monthly project you do when you're out and about in the area.