The Surprising Answer: Can Rusty Metal Be Recycled?

You might not think you’re into “heavy metal.” Nevertheless, if you regularly use aluminum containers (perhaps for soft drinks), you’ll understand how quickly all that metal adds up.

What if the metal didn’t have to just pile up, though? In fact, you might not have to throw all those cans out. You might be able to recycle them, along with plenty of other kinds of metal that are otherwise just sitting around your house. Even so, once the metal gets rusty, you may start to wonder if recycling is still an option.

So, can all that rusty metal around your house actually be recycled? Keep reading to find out. The answer may surprise you!

Typical Metals That Get Rusty

The most common type of metal around your home that may get rusty is aluminum. Things like beverage cans get rusty over time, but these cans aren’t the only metal you can recycle when it gets old.

If you have old knives, the steel in them will eventually corrode. Similarly, if you like to cook out on the grill, the grates of the grill may eventually rust out on you.

Do you do a lot of cooking in the kitchen? In that case, your pots and pans will corrode as time goes on. You also have to watch out for things like baking tins rusting over.

And these are just the kinds of metals you might find around the house! Once you get outside, everything from your lawnmower blades to various yard implements, such as rakes, may become rusty over time.

Can Rusty Metal Be Recycled?

Metal can be recycled even if it is rusty. All you have to do is take the metal to your local scrap yard, and the rest will be taken care of.

Scrap yards are often your best bet because they have no problem accepting rusty metals. Your city may or may not have a basic recycling program, but chances are you can’t bring rusty metal in. However, local scrap yard won’t turn you away and will typically even pay you for your trouble.

Doesn’t The Rust Make Metal Harder To Recycle?

On its own, rusty metal may not seem very useful. However, removing the rust and then reusing the metal is very easy. Most local scrap yards can easily remove the rust, which is one of the reasons you normally don’t have to remove it on your own.

However, if you want or need to remove the rust yourself, it’s not difficult to do so. You can typically remove rust from cans with baking soda, lemon juice, and/or vinegar. Depending on how much rusty metal you have (say, a month’s worth of old soda cans), this may take a bit of time, but it won’t take that much effort to remove the rust.

Can I Make Money Recycling Rusty Cans?

Your local scrap yard is likely willing to pay you to bring in cans and other metal to recycle. If so, the entire process involves gathering your metal, bringing it to the center, having it weighed and getting paid.

How do you get paid, exactly? It all comes down to how much the metal you are recycling weighs. You’ll never make a fortune from recycling these things, but as a general rule, the more you bring in, the more you can get paid.

Some people mistakenly think they can’t bring rusty metal to the local scrap yard because rust adds weight, making it seem like they are trying to game the system. While it’s true that rust adds a bit of weight to metal, the overall amount is negligible, and the yard will most likely be happy to take your rusted metal and recycle it.

Ultimately, this arrangement is a real “win/win.” You get to help the environment by recycling metal you would otherwise throw away. In turn, you can get paid for what you recycle, giving you a powerful incentive to bring more metal in month after month.

What Metals Can Be Recycled?

The short answer is that all metal can be recycled. The longer answer is that you can recycle copper, steel, iron, aluminum, stainless steel, brass, lead, and bronze.

Most people just think about aluminum when it comes to recycling household goods because those soda cans and beer cans can really add up around the house. However, not only can you recycle other metals, but some of them will be more valuable when you take them to the local recycling center. For example, copper is worth more than most other metals, whereas steel is worth less. As you go through your house, see what metals you have that you might be able to recycle—even if it’s rusty!

When you talk to the experts at Scrap It, we can help point you in the right direction.  Contact our recycling facilities to get started.