Why Aluminum And Metal Lids Are Not Getting Recycled

September 25, 2018

© Akaphat Porntepkasemsan | Dreamstime

The good news is that more Americans are recycling! With municipalities making it easier than ever to recycle there is one item that turns out to be a problem in the recycling chain. In fact it's a hazard at recycling centers and their metal and aluminum lids. Many metal cans containing things like foods and soups are made of tin-plated steel, and that material is definitely desirable for recyclers. In addition to aluminum cans (most beverage cans, as well as some cans of pet food), it's one of the most profitable recyclable materials, and sees some of the biggest carbon benefits from being recycled. Lids, on their own, pose a particular problem because of their small size, they can fall through the sorting equipment at material recovery facilities. This means they could either flow into the wrong material stream (like, into the paper items) or make their way into landfills or our waterways. So the best thing you can do is to keep the lids with the cans. Simply insert them back into the can after it has been emptied and rinsed out. This increases their chances of making it through sortation properly to the metal recycling stream, ensuring that they get recycled.  If you can give the lid a little bend without cutting yourself, that will help keep that lid inside the can. You can also use this trick for other small lids, like beer caps and plastic water bottle caps. They too are too small to recycle on their own.  However if you collect a bunch of them in an aluminum can until it's about halfway full, and then squish the top the can together so that they can't fall out, then you can recycle these tops as well. The same for water bottle caps.

SOURCE: The Kitchn

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