Can You Recycle Crushed Cans?

Can You Recycle Crushed Cans?

Cans are one of those things we cannot but use in everyday life. You can get to package your food products and beverages in a safe, clean, and tight container with cans. With cans, the chances of unwanted and harmful microorganisms getting into food are greatly reduced. Cans are also used for packaging heavy materials and industrial-grade liquid. Thus, for both domestic and industrial purposes, cans are known to do an amazing job.

However, just like every other product, it starts to experience wear and tear after prolonged periods of use. When this happens, it stops functioning optimally, and the performance will get reduced. In addition, if it is used to package liquid or other food products, they may start to leak. Other things that can happen to these cans are that they may start to rust or get crushed.


When a can becomes crushed, you have to start thinking of the uses to put it. There are many options as to how you can handle crushed cans that are no longer in use. One of the many options that exist is recycling. However, can you recycle cans? If you can, is there specific information you should be aware of before recycling your cans? Can you recycle crushed cans?

We know that you want answers to this, which is exactly what we are here to provide. We have provided careful answers to all of these questions and more. So, relax and enjoy this highly interesting yet informative piece.

Can Crushed Cans Be Recycled?

Questions do come up as to whether you can recycle crushed cans or not. The basic fact is that you can recycle crushed cans as easily as cans that have not been crushed. The interesting fact is that it is easier to recycle crushed cans than those that have not been crushed.

Can All Types of Used Cans Be Recycled?

You may have asked if it is possible to recycle used cans. The fact is that it is very much possible to recycle used cans. It is on record that as high as 60% of all the cans used in a calendar year-end up being recycled.

However, when discussing the topic of recycling cans, we have to pay particular attention to the types of cans we are referring to. It is important to know this distinction because a can to be recycled can depend a great deal on the type of material of which it is made.

Cans, although metal, are not necessarily made of the same raw materials. There are various materials that cans can be made with, the most popular types of cans are aluminum and steel cans. It has been seen that aluminum cans are much more recyclable than steel cans.

Steps to Recycling Cans

The steps to recycling different types of cans are usually similar, and these steps are somewhat straightforward.

The initial steps include sorting the various cans into the different types of metal classes that there are. For instance, aluminum cans are separated away from steel cans. After this, then you can now take the other steps involved in recycling, one after the other.

These other steps include:

1. Shredding

The first step to being taken in recycling your cans after sorting is to shred the now sorted cans into smaller pieces. We should note that cans of the same materials only are to be shredded together. Thus, you should not shred aluminum cans together with steel cans. This is because it might affect the eventual resulting product.

The purpose of shredding is to reduce the cans’ volume and make the other processes involved in recycling much easier.

2. Thorough Cleaning

Typically, the next procedure to be done is to melt the already shredded cans. However, this can only best be done if the cans are clean and devoid of foreign material. Thus, several chemical and mechanical processes are carried out to scrub the cans clean.

3. Melting

Physically, cans are tough products and are not easily bendable. Therefore, for cans to be molded into different materials, they have to be melted into softer materials. For this to be done, you will likely need a furnace with a very high temperature.

4. Purification

When cans are produced, a lot of materials are added. During melting, these other materials are released as well. To carry out the next phases of the recycling process, these materials have to be separated away using a mechanical process or through the application of chemicals.

Should You Crush Cans Before Recycling?

It is a common conception amongst those who recycle that you should crush materials before taking them for recycling. Thus, people are advised that you should crush it before you take out your plastic or silicone for recycling.

This makes a lot of sense as there are many reasons to support it. First, before you take out your material for recycling, you most likely will have to store it at home for some time.

For this, it is ideal for taking out a separate bin to store such products to be recycled while waiting for the recycling collectors to come knocking or before you get the time to take it yourself. During this time, the bin can get filled up faster, especially for products like cans and plastic that you use very often. Therefore, to conserve space, you may consider crushing such products.

Also, before you can recycle any product, the recyclers have to crush it to make it easy to break down into bendable and moldable material. As such, if you crush these products, you may be making the job of the recyclers a bit easier. But, truly are you?

The ideal for you to crush a product to be recycled if such a product is plastic or silicone. But with metal cans? Maybe not. In fact, you may be making the job of the recycler even more difficult if you decide to crush.

Before recyclers start the recycling process, they first have to sort the cans into different categories. For the recycling process to go seamlessly, cans from various metals have first to be sorted. For instance, aluminum cans are sorted away from steel ones.

If the cans are in their original form, it is much easier to sort them apart from each other as they will be easily identified at this stage. However, once they are crushed, it becomes much more difficult for recyclers to identify and sort them.

As such, while there are benefits to crushing your cans before taking them out for recycling, we highly recommend that you should not go with the option of crushing. This is because it makes the recycling process a bit more tedious.

Can You Recycle Crushed Cans for Money?

There are several steps to take to make some money out of your crushed cans.

1. Collecting the Cans

To make money from recycling crushed cans, the first step to take is to collect a lot of used cans. Some places where you can find used cans that will work include spaces around your house and public spaces like beaches and parks.

2. Crush the Cans

To make a lot of money from cans to be recycled, you have to collect a lot of them. When you collect these cans, you need a space to store them. However, especially considering you will most likely store them at home, spaces will be limited. Thus, you have to maximize space.

One good way to maximize space for this is to crush the cans. However, we know now that crushing cans can make the recycling process a bit more difficult for the recyclers. Still, you can work a way around it. First, when crushing the cans, do it gently. Thus, you will not destroy the cans beyond a state where the recyclers can identify them.

3. Store the Cans

The next step for you is to store the cans. You can make use of the usual garbage bins. However, you should get a new bin specifically to store the cans. This is because having a separate bin enables easier sorting. If you put your cans together with other materials, it will be difficult for you to sort them when you take them for recycling.

4. Take Them for Recycling

The most realistic and popular way to make money from recycling is to sell them into a recycling center. Recycling centers do pay for bringing products (especially cans) for recycling to them.

However, that is not the only way to earn via recycling. Although it is difficult to carry out recycling domestically, it is still possible.

Can You Crush Water Bottles for Recycling?

Most water bottles are usually made of plastic. Plastic is known to be harmful to the environment. For one, plastics are made of chemicals that pose a lot of danger to humans and wildlife. Plastics even become more harmful when you dispose of them by burning them. When plastics are burned, all of these chemicals will be released into the atmosphere causing the most dangerous air pollution.

They are also dangerous even when buried. This is because the chemicals may get broken down and be absorbed into the environment. As such, it is much more preferable to recycle plastic.

However, you may wonder that before you send your plastic for recycling, should you crush it? You know that you still have to store it up for some time before you take your plastic away for recycling. During this time, you might accumulate a lot of plastic, bearing the fact that plastic is a product you use almost daily, especially for your water bottle.

When this happens, it will surely take a lot of space. In order not to create too much nuisance around you, you can crush the water bottles. There are several benefits to this. Apart from the conservation of space, you will be making the work of the recyclers much easier.

How Many Aluminum Cans Does It Take to Make $100?

The price of each used aluminum cans depends on several factors. These include:

  • The location of the recycling center. Recycling cans in states such as California pay much more than some other states. Therefore, this location is an important factor.
  • Source and state of the cans. If the cans are old, then it may severely affect the price. But, then, the source of the cans is also a factor. A can from dirty sources will not command as much as one from a clean one.

For you to be paid, most recyclers base their rates based on the weight of a van containing used cans and pay per pound. This one pound may require up to 30 used cans. On average, one pound may attract around $1.60, and therefore, about 62.5 pounds worth of used cans will be equal to $100.

Is Recycling Aluminum Cans Worth it?

Recycling aluminum cans is worth it. There are a lot of benefits attached to it. For one, you are helping to conserve and save the environment.

Also, you are saving a lot of resources. Cans that you would have rather thrown away will be converted to good use. Companies do not have to spend so much to get new cans. This can enable them to reduce the price they charge on products.

Proof that recycling aluminum cans is worth it is seen in the fact that about two-thirds of all aluminum cans used per annum are recycled.


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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.