How to recycle household waste metal

At metals4U, we are passionate about recycling, while TV programmes like Blue Planet have also helped to highlight the devastation caused by single-use materials.

But while much of our focus is on reducing the use and waste of plastic in our day-to-day lives, statistics released by the trade board, European Aluminium show that the UK falls below the current Eurpoean average for aluminum recycling.

Metal is a material that is endlessly recyclable – aluminum drinks cans can be on sale as another can in just 60 days – so it’s crucial we each play our own part in recycling our waste metal.

To highlight the issue, we analysed the latest YouGov data to find the UK areas which are the best and worst for recycling household waste metal.

The results help illustrate where education and information on metal recycling is required.

The worst offending UK areas for not recycling metal waste (percentage of residents who rarely recycle or never recycle)

  1. Kensington and Chelsea – 47%
  2. Dumfries and Galloway – 45%
  3. Inverclyde – 45%
  4. Southampton – 37%
  5. Brent – 35%
  6. Greenwich – 35%
  7. Tendring – 34%
  8. Rushmoor – 34%
  9. Perth and Kinross – 34%
  10. Barking and Dagehnham – 32%

The top ten best recyclers (percentage of residents who recycle all or almost all metal waste)

  1. Burnley – 94%
  2. Tandbridge – 88%
  3. Rossendale – 87%
  4. Isle of Anglesey – 87%
  5. Denbridgeshire – 85%
  6. Gwynedd – 84%
  7. Monmouthshire – 84%
  8. Ryedale – 82%
  9. Mole Valley – 82%
  10. Derbyshire Dales – 81%

Can I recycle my household metal?

There are several myths surrounding the recycling of household metal waste.

The reality is that most household metals can be recycled.

And as with all household waste, it’s important to rinse metal before recycling it to ensure it does not contaminate other recycled waste.

Which household metals can I recycle?

The metals below can be recycled easily in your regular recycle bin.

  • Drink cans
  • Food tins (push the tin lid inside the tin)
  • Chocolate/sweet tins
  • Aluminium foil (scrunch the foil together to form a ball)
  • Aluminum food trays and tubes (remove any plastic caps)
  • Aerosol cans (remove the plastic cap)

The following household metals CANNOT be recycled in home recycling collections

  • Laminated food pouches (pet food, baby puree pouches that spring back when you scrunch the pouch)
  • Crisp packets and chocolate/sweet wrappers
  • Household appliances that contain metal (white goods, kettles, irons)
  • Kitchen utensils and metal pots and pans
  • Metal containers for chemicals

Where can I recycle household metal?

Metals that can be recycled with regular home collections can be placed in your usual recycling bins.

Some metals that aren’t currently collected by your local council may be able to be collected by third-party collectors, such as TerraCycle.

Recycle Now has a great guide on where and how to recycle most every-day objects.