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Recycling Scrap Metal

Posted by on in Residential Recycling
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A common question in curbside recycling is whether or not bulky metals, such as frying pans, are acceptable in the recycle bin with aluminum and steel cans.


This is a good question, since metal pots and pans are certainly recyclable. However, the avenue to recycle these items resides at scrap metal facilities and bulky metal drop-off locations. In other words, the single-stream recycle bin is not the place for bulky metals.


When a pan has reached the point of no return…the last pancake flipped, the last egg scrambled, the last bacon fried, and the last cheese melted, there are recycling options for these useful household items (unless you want to keep the retired pan around to protect yourself from large spiders.) 


Recycling options for scrap metals:


  • Midwest Fiber’s Decatur, IL location has a scrap metal drop-off that is open to the public from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. From copper wire to steel cookie sheets, we'll give you the best price possible for your material. We also take wire hangers, aluminum trays, pie tins, metal lamp bases... and more! 
  • Scrap yards accept a variety of metals, such as copper, steel, aluminum, brass, iron, and wire. Some may accept additional material, so contact your local scrap yard if you have an item that you’re not sure is recyclable.
  • Many dry cleaners will gladly accept wire hangers for reuse, and some even have designated collection bins for unwanted hangers.

Like any material, it’s always best to see if the item can be reused before it’s recycled.


However, metal scrap can practically be melted and re-melted an infinite number of times to make products and parts for everything from cell phones to automobiles, bridges, and buildings.


In 2013 alone, the U.S. recycled 77,000,000 metric tons of iron and steel, providing vital materials to the nation’s manufacturing.



Copper 1 wires


  • Jessie Harrison Tuesday, 12 July 2016

    My husband used to be a welder and constantly had little projects going on. We decided that this week we are going to get rid of the scraps. I just don't think our garbage cans are the right place for it all. However, we don't really have another place to put it all. That drop-off scrap yard would be perfect, but I'd need to get it there. Maybe I can get a bin rental, what do you think?

  • Midwest Fiber Recycling Tuesday, 12 July 2016

    Hi Jessie!
    Thank you for your interest in recycling! Although scrap metal toters can hold quite a bit of material, the size and weight would make transporting the metal very difficult. Residents typically bring in scrap metal to our Decatur drop-off in anything from boxes and 5 gallon buckets to bags. Even if the metal arrives in multiple containers, we combine it all on the scale for an accurate weight measurement.
    We hope this helps, and please let us know if you have any other questions. Thank you!

  • Eliza Cranston Thursday, 03 December 2015

    Thanks for sharing these options for recycling scrap metal. I have a lot of steel and aluminum scrap in my shed that I need to do something with. I'll look into getting it recycled! Do you know if it's possible to reuse metal that has become rusty?

  • Midwest Fiber Thursday, 03 December 2015

    Hi Eliza! That's great that you have scrap metal to recycle! If some of it is rusty, there may be reuse options in the area of metal artwork. If you contact your local community district association (for example the Downtown Bloomington Association has an Art Directory at http://downtownbloomington.org/directories/art-directory/), they might want some metal. Another option is to look for colleges and universities near you, and ask if their Art Departments have use for it. Otherwise, a scrap metal facility should accept metal that's a little rusty. Good luck!

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Recycling prevents habitat destruction, loss of biodiversity, and soil erosion associated with logging and mining.

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