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How to Recycle Keys – The Eco Guide

Imagine this: you’re spring cleaning and you stumble upon a drawer full of old keys. You can’t even remember what they once unlocked! Before you toss them in the trash, pause for a moment.

How to Recycle Keys

Recycling keys is not only a responsible choice, but it also helps to reduce the environmental impact of throwing away old keys. In this article, you’ll learn the simple steps to recycle your keys and do your part for the environment.

Recyclable Matierals Keys Are Made From

This table provides information on the materials commonly used to make keys and their recyclability. Most key materials, such as steel, brass, aluminum, copper, zinc, nickel, titanium, gold, silver, and iron, are recyclable. However, the recyclability of plastic keys depends on the type of plastic they are made from.

Material Recyclable?
Steel Yes
Brass Yes
Aluminum Yes
Copper Yes
Zinc Yes
Nickel Yes
Plastic Varies
Titanium Yes
Gold Yes
Silver Yes
Iron Yes
Lead Yes

How to recycle keys

Step 1: Sort Your Keys

First things first – sorting your keys is crucial. Separating them by type (house keys, car keys, etc.) and material (metal, plastic, etc.) will make the recycling process much smoother. This step ensures that each type of key is recycled appropriately, preventing any potential contamination and maximizing the efficiency of the recycling process.

Step 2: Determine the Recycling Method

Now that your keys are sorted, it’s time to decide on the best recycling method. There are different methods for recycling keys, such as metal recycling and plastic recycling.

Each method comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. To make the best decision, research local recycling facilities that accept keys and find one that aligns with your needs. Many facilities have websites with information on their recycling processes, making it easy to choose the right fit for your key collection.

Step 3: Prepare the Keys for Recycling

To ensure a smooth recycling process, you’ll need to prepare your keys appropriately. For metal keys, this includes removing any key rings and separating the keys from each other.

For plastic keys, remove any non-recyclable components, such as batteries or electronic parts, and separate the keys from each other. Taking these simple steps will help to ensure your keys are ready for recycling.

Step 4: Recycle the Keys

You’ve sorted, researched, and prepared – now it’s time to recycle! Depending on the facility you’ve chosen, you can either drop off your keys in person or mail them in for recycling.

To make sure your keys are properly recycled, follow any specific instructions provided by the facility. If you’re unable to find a recycling center near you that accepts keys, consider reaching out to online recycling programs that specialize in key recycling.

These programs often provide mailing instructions and guidelines for properly packaging your keys.

Creative ways to reuse keys

Instead of recycling, consider giving your old keys a new lease on life with these creative ideas:

  • Transform keys into unique jewelry pieces, such as necklaces, bracelets, or earrings.
  • Incorporate keys into home decor items like wind chimes or framed artwork.
  • Create garden ornaments, like key-adorned birdhouses or plant markers.

Reusing keys not only helps reduce waste but also fosters creativity and promotes a sustainable lifestyle.


Recycling keys is a simple yet impactful way to reduce waste and minimize the environmental impact of our daily lives.

By following a few straightforward steps – sorting, determining the recycling method, preparing the keys, and recycling them – you can do your part to help preserve our planet. So, go ahead and unlock the potential of your old keys by recycling them today!


How can I recycle old keys?

To recycle old keys, first, remove any non-metal components. Then, find a local recycling program that accepts keys, contact a scrap metal dealer, or use a mail-in recycling service that specializes in key recycling.

Can you throw keys in the bin?

No, you should not throw keys in the bin, as they can harm the environment and contribute to waste. Instead, recycle or reuse your old keys responsibly.

Should you throw away keys?

No, you should not throw away keys, as they can negatively impact the environment and contribute to waste. Instead, recycle or repurpose your old keys to help conserve resources and reduce waste.

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