aluminum cans

Metal Recycling in Salt Lake City

What types of metal can be recycled?

Any metal can be recycled indefinitely with no loss in quality. This is also done with a fraction of the amount of energy required for producing metal from virgin materials.

How to Recycle Metal in Salt Lake City

SLC Curbside Recycling

Tin and aluminum are the pair of metals eligible for placement in your curbside recycling bin. Objects should be empty, dry, and relatively clean. These items include:

  • Aluminum and tin cans
    • No need to crush; a recycling operator actually said it’s better not to because when they’re crushed together in the facility, the bale sticks together better.
  • Aluminum foil, such as wrap, yogurt tops, inside liner of cigarette boxes, disposable bakeware/takeout tins (if free of food)
    • Accumulate foil ball to about baseball-size as to not get lost in machinery; can also add small scraps (like Hershey’s kiss wrappers) inside an aluminum can
  • Empty aerosol cans
  • Empty tins, such as mint or popcorn tins

Metal items not allowed in curbside recycling can

Large pieces of metal, auto parts, wire hangers, electronics, batteries, paint cans.

Any metal objects that are allowed in curbside recycling can also be taken to a scrap yard, as well as larger items that are not acceptable. Just about anything metal can be dropped for for recycling, and you can actually make a little money doing this.

Examples include pots and pans, copper wire, brass fixtures, appliances, bike frames, automobiles, shelving, bed frames, furniture, faucets, lamps, decor, stainless sinks, telephone wire, Christmas lights, power cables, extension cords, tools, exercise equipment, A/C condensers, aluminum siding, gutters and downspouts, and car parts.

Salt Lake City metal scrap yards

Types of metals

Common metals are divided into two categories: Ferrous and Non-Ferrous.

Ferrous Metals

Ferrous metals contain iron, which makes them hard, strong, and magnetic. They are also susceptible to rust and corrosion.

Common Ferrous MetalsExamples
SteelCars, building materials, appliances, machinery, fencing, wire hangers
Stainless SteelAppliances, pharmaceutical and medical equipment, food-grade equipment, and knives.
Cast IronCookware, small components subject to wear such as gears, rods, and pins, and mining equipment.
Carbon SteelStructures, Furniture, Auto Parts
Wrought IronFurniture, Fencing, Railings, Decor

Non-Ferrous Metals

Non-ferrous metals contain very little or no iron, and are therefore not magnetic. They are more rare, which makes them more valuable. Copper is the most valuable metal taken to scrap recyclers.

Common Non-Ferrous MetalsExamples
CopperWires & cables, Pipes & Fittings, Cookware, Coins, Motors, Roofing materials
BrassKnickknacks, Plumbing fixtures, Vehicle radiators, Keys, Door handles, Light fixtures, Bathroom fixtures, Jewelry, Musical instruments
BronzeSculptures, Jewelry, Coins, Bearings, Tools
SilverJewelry, Coins, Dental Fillings, Decorative Items, Silver Nitrate films used in photography and radiography, Electrical Contacts, Batteries
GoldJewelry, Coins, Watches, Electrical Connectors, Artificial limb joints, Dentistry, Computers, Electronics.
LeadPipes, Flashing, Gutters, Downspouts, Conductor Heads, Ammunition, Cable sheathing, Weights for lifting, Radiation protection, Batteries
TinSolder, Roofing materials, Coins, Bearings, Organ pipes, Pewter
NickelBatteries, Coins, Jewelry, Plating, Electrical contacts, Medical equipment
TitaniumGolf clubs, Jewelry, Dental implants, Eyeglass frames, Cookware

Local scrap yards generally accept the same things, with some variations. An item covered/attached to other materials such as plastic are ok as long as the item is composed of at least half metal. Check scrap recycler websites for items accepted, and you can always call.

For the best prices to sell your metal:

  • Clean/separate them from contaminants like paint, adhesives, wood, plastic, and rubber
  • Sort ferrous from non-ferrous metals with a magnet

Items most metal recyclers will NOT accept:

Barb WireItems containing < 20% metalRadioactive material
Razor WirePropane Tanks (sealed cylinders)Chemical/Hazardous waste
Alkaline BatteriesUnits containing OilRubber
MicrowavesTires (except the rims)Glass
Units containing Freon

Precious metals

Gold, silver, platinum, or any other precious metal can be melted down and recycled to make something new just like any other metal.

If you have any unwanted or broken jewelry, consider selling it or having it remade into a new piece. I highly recommend J. Brooks Jewelers.

Did you know that electronics contain many precious metals such as gold and platinum? This is just one reason electronic recycling is so important. Find out where to recycle electronics in Salt Lake City.

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