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How to Recycle Metal: Steel & Aluminum

written by: Laura Jean Karr•edited by: Lindsay Evans•updated: 2/8/2010

In the United States there really is no excuse to not recycle steel and aluminum metals. Many options are available, from local recycling programs to charitable recycling programs. Learn more about your options when it comes to recycling metal.

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    How to Recycle Metal: Steel & Aluminum

    In the United States metal usage is a cumulative 300 million cans a day - and not just in aluminum but in steel as well. When you add into the mix other metal products such as auto parts and appliances the number exceeds the equivalent of 500 million cans just for one day.

    The problem comes in when we look at the overall recycling rates for these metals, which has actually gone down 20% over the past twenty years in America. If we were to collectively become active by recycling both aluminum and steel metals, we would highly reduce the use of waste metals clogging our landfills and save money by supporting jobs in our local communities for recycling.

    So, let’s take a look at the ways you can get more proactive about recycling these metals.

    Start by recycling at home. If you live in an area where they have a local recycling program and then make sure that you take part in it. Rinse your cans and save them for collection every week. You can also save your cans and return them for the recycling fee at your local metal recycler, earning you some cash in the process.

    Another at-home recycling option is to keep your steel cans and reuse them. You can create craft projects or reuse the cans for organizing items around the house. For ideas on how to get started reusing cans and other items around your home, read Quick and Easy Green Home Projects for Reuse.

    You can also take part in a recycling program for charity. The Aluminum Association partners up with groups such as the Girl Scouts and local schools for recycling drives to benefit charitable organizations. To learn more visit the Cans for Causes website at

    The Steel Recycling Institute has nationwide recycling programs that you can get involved with. The current steel drive is in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity where they collect and recycle the steel of automobiles to raise funds needed to build more homes. For more information on how to get involved visit the SRI website at