How to Recycle Aluminum Cans

If you are trying to find out where to recycle aluminum cans in your area scroll to the bottom of this page and search our recycling locator. Aluminum is a sustainable metal and can be recycled over and over again. An aluminum can is generally turned into a new can and back on store shelves within 60 day, saving as much as 95% of the energy necessary to make a can from virgin aluminum.

Unfortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that only 50.4% of aluminum cans made in the U.S. were collected in 2018, the last year for which data has been published. Compared to Europe, where 81% of cans are recycled, and nations like Brazil (100%), Germany (99%), and Finland (98%), America has some work to do.

All curbside recycling programs accept aluminum cans, with only a few exceptions,  and community drop-off locations are available nationwide.

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Frequent Aluminum Can Recycling Questions

Can I get money for aluminum cans?

Yes. Aluminum is on the lower end of the value spectrum for scrap metal, but aluminum cans can be and still are collected and brought to scrap yards in bulk.

Some states also have bottle bills that allow consumers to turn in aluminum cans for a small deposit. These programs have been shown to increase collection rates for cans to over 80%.

Can aluminum cans be turned into schools or charities for fundraising?

Yes. In the past, some companies and organizations helped schools and charities in need of funding organize recycling drives of aluminum cans. Those programs faded and disappeared during the pandemic and have not come back. However, it is easy to collect cans and sell them to a scrap metal dealer to raise cash. Can must be clean, crushed, and dry to qualify for purchase at most scrap companies. Add your ZIP Code to this Earth911 Recycling Directory search to find an aluminum scrap company.

Interesting Facts About Aluminum