Home » Recyclability » Is Metal Recyclable – Complete Guide

Is Metal Recyclable – Complete Guide

We have been guilty of throwing some items in the trash when we could have better disposed of them.

Plastics, cans, and even paper are all items that can be recycled if appropriately collected at the source.

But what about metal?

Did you know metal can be recycled over and over?

Did you know it’s one of the easiest materials to recycle?

Did you know with all that recycling, you can help the environment, reduce global warming and save energy?

You’ve got questions; we’ve got answers.

What Can Metals Be Recycled?

Metals are some of the most valuable materials in manufacturing, construction, and other industries.

They’re also some of the most commonly recycled materials because they can be reused repeatedly without losing their usefulness or value.

The recycling process for metals is simple, and many different types of metals can be recycled, including ferrous and non-ferrous.

Ferrous Metals

Ferrous metals are those that contain iron.

These include steel, cast iron, and wrought iron.

Ferrous metals are used in many ways, but they have one thing in common: they can be recycled! The amount of energy saved by recycling these metals is impressive.

It takes about 70% less energy to produce recycled steel than new steel from ore.

Non-Ferrous Metals

Non-ferrous metals do not contain iron.

These are usually more valuable than ferrous metals, but they are also much more challenging to recycle.

Aluminum: Aluminium is one of the most commonly recycled metals, and it can be recycled indefinitely without losing any of its properties.

It’s used in everything from cans to cars, meaning there’s always a demand for it.

Copper: Copper is another popular metal with many uses worldwide.

It can be found in wires, pipes, and even coins.

Copper is easily recycled and reused, which helps reduce the amount of waste produced by industries every year.

Lead: Lead is often used in lead acid batteries and pipes, as well as other applications that require low melting point materials.

Lead is a heavy metal that has many industrial uses but can also be found in paint strippers and other products found around the house.

How is Metal Recycled?

The process of recycling metal is quite simple.

The first step is removing unwanted material from the car or vehicle.

The unwanted material can be anything from old tires to carpeting and paint.

The next step is to crush the unwanted material into small pieces with a crusher or hammer mill.

This will make it easier for the metal to be separated from the rest of the material.

The remaining material is then put into a furnace, melting into liquid form.

Once this has been accomplished, pure iron is separated from other metals and impurities using magnetic fields.

Finally, pure iron can be used to make new steel products, while any leftover impurities are recycled into other products like cement or glassware.

Why Are Some Metals Not Recyclable?

Some metals are not recyclable because they are difficult to separate from other materials.

For example, tungsten is used in steel production because it is a hard material that resists wear and tear.

However, tungsten cannot be separated from steel during recycling due to its proximity to the metal’s structure.

As a result, tungsten is not recycled for new use.

Other metals cannot be recycled because they are too rare or expensive to be practical for recycling purposes.

Palladium, for example, is used in jewelry items such as watches and rings.

Still, it is too rare to use as an industrial metal and needs to be mined directly from the earth’s crust instead of recycled from another source.

Some metals contain toxic substances that make them unsafe for human contact or release harmful waste into the environment during recycling.

These include cadmium, used in batteries; lead; mercury; thallium; and silver (combined with chlorine).

What Are The Benefits Of Recycling Metals?

Divert Waste from Landfill

The main benefit of recycling metals is that it helps to divert waste from landfills.

When you recycle metals, they can be reused instead of discarded into landfills as waste.

This helps in reducing the amount of waste generated by industries and households.

Recycling Metals Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions

When you recycle metal, the energy needed to process raw materials is less than that used to make new metal from ore.

This means fewer greenhouse gas emissions are released into the atmosphere when you recycle metal instead of mining raw materials for new products.

Recycling metals diverts waste from landfills, preventing soil and groundwater contamination by toxic chemicals.

It also reduces the methane gas produced by decomposing organic matter in landfills.

Methane is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

Protect Natural Resources

Saving natural resources has become more critical in recent years due to environmental concerns about global warming and pollution caused by mining activities.

Recycling metals helps reduce the need for mining new ore deposits and conserves already scarce raw materials that might otherwise be wasted when discarded electronics are thrown away instead of recycled.

Recycle More Metals Than Ever Before

Metals recycling has increased significantly over the last few decades as consumers have become more aware of the importance of recycling metals, such as aluminum cans and plastic bottles.

Many people need to realize that many different types of metals can be recycled, including copper wire and bronze statues, as well as steel cans and aluminum foil wrappers.

Benefit Economy

Recycling has been shown to help boost the economy by creating jobs and tax revenue for local governments.

For example, recycling aluminum saves 95% of the energy used in production, making it one of the most efficient forms of recycling material today.

In addition, recycling steel reduces its carbon footprint by almost 90%.

Safety and Legal Tips on How to Recycle or Dispose of Metal Waste

A lot of people sell scrap metal to make some extra money.

But it can be frustrating if you need help with recycling or disposing of metal waste in your area.

Check with local authorities before selling any scrap metal.

Some areas have regulations requiring sellers to notify them of their intent and provide proof of ownership.

If you don’t do this, the buyer could claim ownership after you’ve sold it and taken possession of the scrap.


It might not seem like metal is recyclable, but it certainly is.

Metal is the most recyclable material out there.

So if you’re ever wondering whether or how you can recycle your scrap metal at home, don’t hesitate to reach out to a local recycling center that handles scrap metal, and have them do the work for you.


Can You Scrap Rusty Metals?

Yes, you can scrap rusty metals. The rust does not affect the value or recyclability of the metal. However, some scrap yards may not accept certain types of rusty metals. It is best to check with the scrap yard in advance.

Is Metal Always Recyclable?

Yes, metal is always recyclable. It can be used over and over again without losing its properties or quality. However, not all metal can be recycled in the same way. Some types of metal may require special handling to ensure that they are recycled safely and effectively.

How Does Metal Recycling Help The Environment?

Metal recycling reduces the need for mining, conserves natural resources, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and saves energy. It is an important part of a sustainable and environmentally-friendly approach to resource management.


  • Jen Wheeler

    Jen Wheeler, co-founder of Recycling-Revolution.com, holds degrees from UC Berkeley, Yale, and Stanford. A renowned environmentalist, she's championed sustainable practices at global events and leads EcoBright Solutions, focusing on recycling education and eco-friendly products.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!