Do you have an idea how many cans you use weekly or daily? All these and other metals can be recycled infinitely, from your drink to your canned goods and aerosol. This sounds like good news, but recycling the wrong way could contaminate an entire set of recyclables. While metals and the products for making steel are reusable, metals are nonrenewable resources. This means they are not easy to replace, and they have a limited supply, which is why it is crucial to recycle them. Here are the things you need to know to ensure you are helping recycle metals the right way:
Cleaning is necessary
It is wrong to just toss used cans into the recycling bin without cleaning. Liquid or food particles found in them can contaminate other materials to be recycled. Rinse off the can whenever you are finished, and check with your recycling facility if you need to remove the labels. It does not have to be flawlessly clean, but it helps to scrape off stuck food bits. Cross-contamination can take a toll on the recycling process. It may increase costs and reduce the value of the material’s quality.
Remove lid completely
Make sure to remove the lid of the can thoroughly and place it inside the can after rinsing. For aerosol cans that often use plastic caps, remove the top as well as it must go with other recyclable plastic. Most facilities process lids separately, and you can help them save time and effort by removing the covers yourselves.
Keep them in a separate container
Sorting your recyclables will be easier if you keep them in separate containers. Also, do your best to keep your metal cans dry to preserve their quality or avoid rust.
What not to do
Do not puncture aerosol cans to remove leftover liquid. For paint cans, you can also rinse them off, but if there is remaining paint, you can drop it off at a nearby facility together with your other hazardous waste. There is no need to crush aluminum cans as this can also cause contamination. It would also be easier to process them in their original form. You may also check with an aluminum recycling facility near you if they prefer to have the cans crushed. Crushed cans may be harder to detect for facilities that use single sure recycling.
Just because you placed your used cans in a recycling bin does not mean you have already played your part in helping save the environment. Recyclables can still end up in landfills due to contamination. This is why it is crucial to make recycling work by avoiding contamination. Recycling is a fundamental social responsibility that should be everyone’s concern, but it must be done right. We do not want this effort to be put to waste. Contamination reduces the value of what is supposed to be a recyclable material, rendering it unusable. Imagine just one saucy can contaminating an entire container of recyclables, so make sure to do your part.