When it comes to recycling, aluminum and steel cans may be some of the first items that come to mind. After all, soda, soup, vegetable and tuna cans, as well as aerosol cans are items we use daily. But surprisingly, central Ohio residents only toss 15% of aluminum cans and 28% of steel cans into recycling bins, leaving nearly 60% of those materials headed to the landfill instead.
Recycling metals and aluminum offers numerous environmental and economic benefits. From an environmental standpoint, a recycled can takes 95% less energy to make than a new one.
Recycling Metals Creates Jobs and New Products Across Ohio and the U.S.
Recycling metals is also big business as it contributes to creating jobs in the recycling industry from collection and processing to manufacturing. According to the American Iron and Steel Institute, steel is 100% recyclable and reports that 60 to 80 million tons of steel scrap are recycled per year into new products in North America. Steel cans collected in central Ohio go to a Cleveland-Cliffs facility in Middletown, Ohio. Cleveland-Cliffs Inc., headquartered in Cleveland, is the largest supplier of steel to the automotive industry in North America. Franklin Iron & Metal Corp., in Dayton, also accepts steel cans from recycling haulers and offers a service for consumers who want to recycle their scrap metal, which includes everything from aluminum cans to appliances to junk cars.
According to the Aluminum Association, 80% of U.S. aluminum in production today is recycled. Additionally, aluminum cans have the highest value among recyclables. Recycled aluminum cans can be transformed into a variety of products and back on the shelf within 60 days. New products created through the recycling process include:
New aluminum cans.
Automotive, aerospace and bicycle parts.
Building materials such as windows and siding.
A percentage of recycled aluminum in Ohio is sent to Constellium Muscle Shoals, a major aluminum sheet supplier in Alabama for hte packaging and automotive markets. That recycling center can recycle the equivalent of 20 billion aluminum cans per year.
Franklin County's residential curbside recycling program accepts metal cups and cans. Appliances, scrap metal and other materials are accepted for recycling at SWACO's Recycling Convenience Center on Jackson Pike. To learn more about this facility, click here.