Metal comes in all shapes and sizes, from scrap that used to be part of a building, to an empty Coca Cola can following your lunch break. Regardless of the type, we all need to make sure that metal is recycled as efficiently as possible. This can be achieved by knowing what to do with different kinds of metal, and there’s no time like the present to find out.
Types of metal
There are two types of metal that are commonly used: steel and aluminium. Food cans are usually made from steel, and drinks cans from aluminium. If you can’t tell and it doesn’t say on the packaging, there’s a very easy way to find out: steel is magnetic, aluminium is not. Either way, both can be recycled, and usually together as part of your regular kerbside collection, depending on how your local council operates. If you need to take metal to a local recycling plant, use this bank locator to find one near your home or business.
White goods and other electrical products such as fridges, washing machines, toasters, computers and games consoles contain a lot of metal that can be stripped and reprocessed. The same goes for old bicycles, kitchenware and gardening equipment. However, if the item is still usable, you could instead advertise through websites such as Freecycle and Freegle, or in your local newspaper. This will ensure that they are used for as long as possible before being sent to a recycling centre.
Other types of metal
Some metals come in different forms, such as aerosols, tin foil and baking trays. Many councils take these as part of their kerbside collections, but contact your local authority first as some have limitations to what they collect. You can also save them up and take them to a recycling bank on a regular basis that suits your calendar. Do not pierce or crush aerosols and make sure that they’re empty before sending away for recycling.
If you own or work for a business that produces waste, please note that it’s illegal to dispose of it through facilities provided for households, such as kerbside collections and sometimes even recycling centres. Visit gov.uk for full information on how to manage your commercial rubbish.
Cash for Cans
You may even be able to make a few quid from recycling aluminium at Cash for Cans depots, which you could perhaps do in aid of a school or charity. Visit their website for more info and to locate your nearest centre.
Tips for everyone
Take the time to clean recyclable materials in the sink first. This will speed up the recycling process as well as keep bins and collection lorries as hygienic as possible. If materials can be safely crushed, such as aluminium cans, this will help to save space during storage and transit, achieving optimum efficiency.
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Image credit: Alevtina on Flickr