What Household Metal can and can’t be Recycled?

The typical household uses a wide range of metal products – but what happens when we’ve finished using them? Household recycling can often be a cause for confusion among homeowners.

For more readily recycled materials such as paper and plastic, recycling has become second nature in many homes. Unfortunately, metal recycling can still leave people feeling unsure.

In this blog from SL Recycling, we break down what household metal can and can’t be recycled. We will also signpost instances when metal should be taken to a scrapyard, as well as highlight the wider importance of recycling household metal.

For more information about recycling metal, visit our blog. Articles include; Everything you Need to Know about Scrap Metal Recycling, What is the Difference Between Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metals and Why is it Important to Recycle Metal.

What can be Recycled?


Before outlining which metal products can be recycled, it is vital that homeowners understand the importance of preparing materials ahead of recycling. In order to be recycled effectively, metal items must be free from residual debris.

This might include food, cosmetic products or even paint. Before placing a metal product into your recycling box, be sure to rinse any products with water to ensure the recycling process is as unburdened and effective as possible.

Tin Cans and Aluminium Cans – Aluminium cans are a common form of household waste, and a great opportunity for recycling. When recycling tins, be sure to rinse the can of its contents and place any lids inside. In most cases, tin cans can be recycled using local curbside recycling initiatives or banks at local recycling centres.

Aluminium Foil – Whether it’s used to pack your sandwiches or keep food fresh, households often use aluminium foil regularly. Clean aluminium trays and foils and widely recycled. Once free from residue, scrunch your aluminium foil into a ball recycle. If the foil cannot be sufficiently cleaned, dispose of it in your general waste bin.

Paint Cans – Although used less frequently, paint cans are another easily recycled item. After ensuring that a can is completely clean, paint cans can be recycled at many recycling centres. While generally accepted, it is recommended to seek clarification on whether a given centre accepts paint cans before dropping them off.

Aerosol Cans – The UK uses around 600 million aerosol cans per year, so they should be recycled wherever possible. To be recycled, aerosols should be empty. Aerosols that are either completely or partly full should be separated as they cannot be recycled – these are considered hazardous.

What cannot be Recycled?


Nails, Screws and Washers – If nails or screws have become disfigured or rusted in use, they are no longer suitable for recycling. These items should be thrown away as general waste.

Razor Blades – While razor blades are made from recyclable metals, razor blades should not be recycled. It is advised not to recycle razors to protect workers and animals who may come into contact with them during the process. It is recommended that blades are extensively wrapped or placed into a protective container before being placed into general waste.

Aerosol Cans with Liquid Inside – As previously noted, aerosol cans that still contain liquid are considered hazardous. To recycle an aerosol, ensure it is fully empty before adding it to your metal recycling.

Capri Sun Packaging and smoothie pouches – Smoothie pouches or capri-sun style packages are challenging to recycle. While they do contain foil, they also contain considerable amounts of plastic and the average recycling centre is not able to separate these materials. For this reason – Capri Sun and smoothie pouches cannot be recycled.

Aluminium lined boxes – Similarly, any paper that is coated

What goes to Scrapyards?


Some items that are unable to be disposed of or recycled at home could be taken to scrapyards, where they can be assessed to determine a suitable method of disposal.

Bicycles – Old bikes, both functional and non can be taken to a local scrap metal recycling yard. Some scrap metal attendees will break down bikes for parts before disposing of each element separately.

Wire Hangers – Wire hangers are typically made from steel meaning they can be taken to a scrap yard with any other unwanted scrap metal. 

Wires and Cables – Wires and cables commonly contain copper wiring that has been interwoven to allow conductivity. Unwanted wires and cables can be taken to scrapyards for safe disposal.

Household Appliances – Household appliances are not safe to dispose of with regular household waste. To avoid sending unwanted appliances to landfill, many homeowners opt to take appliances to local scrap dealerships.

The Importance of Recycling Household Metal

As with any material, recycling household metal has a range of benefits. In addition to preserving the planet and contributing towards local and national sustainability goals, homeowners are granted peace of mind that their household waste is not contributing to landfill. Further still, it is understood that metal can withstand continual recycling without losing quality.

Metal Recycling with SL Recycling

Here at SL Recycling, we are experts in household and industrial metal recycling. Having started our business as as scrap metal traders, metal has remained one of core specialisms.

When recycling metal, an expert opinion is always valuable. SL Recycling is now one of the largest independent metal recyclers in South Wales. We offer specialist metal & waste recycling services, designed to meet the ever-changing needs of all our customers.

Our metal recycling services include ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals and scrap metal. To find out more about how we can assist you with your recycling needs, take a look at our range of waste management services. To speak to a member of our team and receive more tailored advice, get in touch today. Our range of industry specialists are on hand to help.

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