What Household Items Can I Recycle?

Every household ends up with scrap metal at some point. A comprehensive list of household scrap metal items is probably impossible to put together, but a short list can give you a good idea of what constitutes household scrap metal:

Air conditioners – Aluminum Cans – Metal boats – Bikes – Brass Items – Junk Cars – Car parts – Batteries – Copper – Gym Equipment – Lawn Mowers –  Radiators – Stainless Steel – Bed Frames – Bicycle – Car Jacks – Basketball Hoops – Carriages and Strollers – Cast Iron Tubs – Garage Doors –  Golf Clubs – Fans – Metal File Cabinets – Mail Boxes – Gutters – Washers – Dryers – Range Hoods – Stoves – Toaster Ovens – Freezers – Hot Water Heaters – Humidifiers – Ironing Boards – Ladders – Storm Doors – Dog Crates – Lamps – Tire Rims -Refrigerators – Metal Drums – Mopeds – Metal Shelving – Shovels – Pots and Pans and Ski/Bike Racks. If you have a question on any other material we recycle, don’t hesitate to call us. 

Call us at (910) 762-2646 for current pricing on all household scrap metal.

Southern Metals Recycling – Wilmington, NC 

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Do You Know How to Sell Scrap Metal?

Whether you are collecting scrap metal for income or as a hobby, understand that many lucrative scrap companies started out the same way. Collecting scrap metal pays pennies per pound, but it is not difficult to work up to weightier amounts if you know where to look for it. Keep in mind you need an area to store and sort your metal and a sturdy vehicle to haul it. You also need to make new business contacts.

Where to Look

  • Comb neighborhoods and put out fliers announcing your new business. Make friends with plumbers, building contractors, roofers and electricians. Visit machine shops and service stations. In some cities, the town dump is a freebie for the scrap collector. Keep an eye out for dumpsters and large trash containers near building sites. Find out what days metals are removed and ask if you could remove them. You may even make extra cash hauling unwanted items from businesses on a regular basis. Become familiar with the different types of metals, as some bring in higher prices than others. Sort the scrap according to type, as recyclers pay more when it is separated.

Hefty Items Add Up Fast

  • Junk cars are profitable sources of scrap metal, but you need the right kind of equipment, such as a tow truck, storage yard and mobile crusher. If those things are out of reach, you can collect large appliances that you can strip and haul with nothing more than a truck or large van.

    Water heaters are an easy source of metal, as many plumbers love having someone to haul them away. Although they do not pay much individually because they are mostly tin, you can accumulate them easily in lots of five or 10 at a time. Boilers, air conditioners and heaters are heavier items, sometimes weighing up to 300 pounds for a residential unit. They can be stripped of pricier metals, such as copper tubing and brass fittings, which can quickly add up. A large industrial boiler can weigh up to 700 pounds and must be dismantled for the metal recycler. Remove such things such as pressure gauges, as they can be sold in yard sales and can bring in some additional cash.


Instructions on how to identify and sort scrap metal

1) Set out six large cardboard boxes to place items in and ease the sorting process. Label the boxes as follows: iron, aluminum, batteries, brass, steel and copper. These are the six categories used by the scrap metal recycling industry.

2) Start with the “Aluminum” box. Put things like soda and other cans, aluminum furniture, aluminum car pieces and storm doors in this box. Soda cans will likely be the easiest to find, but keep in mind, the idea is to go for more weight if you’re interested in making money off your recycling.

3) Take a magnet and scan it over metal items. Place the items that have a magnetic attraction to the magnet in the “Iron” box. This is the quickest way to identify what pieces of metal are iron. Another option is to look for the formation of rust on the metal. Items that are usually made of iron include pipes, cars and pieces of home appliances.

4) Look at all the remaining metal items and find the ones that have the appearance of iron without the magnetic pull. All of these items go straight to the “Stainless Steel” box. Items made of stainless steel include beer kegs, stair hand rails and vehicle trim.

5) Gather any old car batteries you’ve found or have laying around and place them in the “Batteries” box. Car batteries are 100% recyclable and have many reusable parts including the plastic, lead and acid.

6) Place metal items that are red or stained green from water damage in the “Copper” box. Copper is easy to obtain from things like old electrical wiring pieces, other wire and plumbing fittings.

7) Place items that have a yellow-tinged color in the “Brass” bin. Brass items include door knobs, car radiators, sink drains and fixtures and light fixtures.


Where do you sell and recycle your Scrap Metal???

CLICK HERE – Southern Metals Recycling – Wilmington, NC – (910) 762-2646

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The History of Steel

The History of Steel

Steel has been an important resource throughout the history of the world. It is not a “new” material, at least not in the way that plastics or nylon are. Pieces of steel have been found in East Africa that date back to 1400BC.  Because steel is an alloy, made up of two or more elements, it can be made from materials found in nature through a process known as smelting.

Steel is smelted through the application of extreme heat to iron ore.  Temperatures may reach in excess of 1370 degrees Celsius to achieve the desired results.  Processes for reaching such high temperatures have been utilized for a surprisingly long time.  Even six thousand years ago, techniques for melting materials had already been discovered and were highly utilized.

However, steel is a very sensitive alloy and is difficult to work with.  Small changes to the proportions of its components during the smelting process result in very different outcomes and properties.  In light of this, steel-making was long considered almost as an art-form.  In 1858, Henry Bessemer finally developed a method for consistently creating high-quality steel that could be mass-produced and was easily recycled, leading to the birth of the modern steel industry.

Modern Steelmaking

In modern times, new steel is generally made from a process known as oxygen steelmaking.  The process involves molten iron being poured into a container known as a ladle and transferred to a furnace to be mixed with scrap steel material.  The recycled steel is mixed with the iron as pure oxygen is blown into the steel and iron to raise the temperature in order to burn off carbon and purify the steel.  Other chemical cleaning agents may be introduced later to create slag, a material that forms on the surface of the molten steel to absorb chemical impurities. The purpose of slag is to drain impurities from the steel.

The purified recycled steel is now ready to be poured into new molds or mixed with other chemical compounds to create new varieties of steel for specific purposes.  The name steel does not refer to only one kind of metal, but rather it is an umbrella term for many iron-based alloys.

Steel scrap metal can be sourced in many different ways including commercial scrap metal, construction scrap metal, manufacturing scrap metal, and household steel scrap metal such as old appliances.  No matter its origin, recycled steel plays a big part in supporting more sustainable and environmentally friendly steel-making practices worldwide.


Southern Metals Recycling – Wilmington, NC – (910) 762-2646


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Check Out Our Toys!

The pure awesomeness of our toys here at Southern Metals Recycling is out of this world. I would like to introduce you to a couple of the powerful machines we use here to unload scrap metal from our customer’s vehicles, sort in to specific piles, shear in to smaller pieces and load in to our rail cars or trucks to be shipped out to be recycled. These incredible machines bring my imagination from the sandbox as a kid to real life.


Let’s start with the unloading and sorting process. This is a typical customer here at Southern Metals and after they weigh in on the big scale, they head to the back to be unloaded.



Most of the material is sent to the shear to be cut up in to smaller pieces. This machine is heavy duty and I am proud to say that our shear operator, Sonny, has been working here for more than 30 years.



After we have unloaded and sorted the material in their specific location, it is time to shear the larger pieces with the mobile shear. This machine is a beast! I just love to see it in action. It cuts through any material with absolutely no effort and is such joy to watch.



For the larger pieces that the static or mobile shear can not cut, the cutting torch is put to use. It is fun to watch the power of fire at work as it melts right through any heavy metal steel.



Once everything is cut in to smaller pieces and sorted to their specific locations, it is time to load the material in to the trucks and ship them off to be recycled.



I hope you enjoyed watching a little of what happens here at Southern Metals Recycling. If you bring in some scrap metal, you can see it first hand. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Southern Metals Recycling – Wilmington, NC – (910) 762-2646

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Junk Cars Become New Bridges!

One of the most exciting parts of our job here at Southern Metals Recycling is knowing that the material we purchase from people like yourself is being recycled and reused for a greater purpose. We are doing our part to keep this community and Earth clean and can only ask you to play your part in helping recycle. Don’t hesitate to call us and ask what the current prices are to determine how much money you can make from the scrap you have lying around the house.

Have you ever wondered what the process is after you sell your scrap metal to Southern Metals Recycling? You never know…you may be helping create a new bridge.

Ferrous Scrap Cycle: From Cars to Bridges

1) End of life junk cars are sold for scrap


2) They are inspected, removing any potentially hazardous materials.


3) The cars are then shredded in to small pieces.


4) Shredded steel is remelted…


5) …then made in to beams…


6) …and used in the construction of a new bridge.


Did you know:

  • Recycling one care saves more than 2,500 lbs. or iron ore, 1,400 lbs. of coal and 120 lbs. of limestone?
  • Steel is the most recycled material in the United States. On average, the U.S. processes enough ferrous scrap daily, by weight, to build 25 Eiffel Towers every day of the year.
  • Recycling steel requires 60% less energy than producing steel from iron ore.
  • By using ferrous scrap rather than virgin materials in the production of iron and steel, carbon dioxide emissions are reduced by 58%.


Don’t forget to call us for any questions on pricing for your scrap metal – (910) 762-2646

Southern Metals Recycling – 2923 Hwy 421 North Wilmington, NC 28403

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What is a Scrap Metal Recycling Yard?

There are few places in life more charmingly apocalyptic than the modern-day scrap yard. Servicing businesses large and small, as well as everyday folks trying to recycle, scrap yards are the beginning link in the metal recycling chain. The seemingly chaotic buzzing of workers, forklifts, dump trucks and patrons is actually  the sound of a century old industry raking in $80 billion annual revenues in the US alone.

What is a Waste Stream?

No matter what industry you work in, there is always some type of waste material, or material that is leftover after a process or operation. At the end of the day, you may be left with several different types of waste materials. This is called a waste stream.

Every person and every company has a waste stream. Some of the waste materials are non-recyclable, like food waste, pollution, or bio-hazardous waste. On the other hand, most of the waste stream is recyclable! Anything from corrugated paper, plastic bottles, and of course scrap metal, are all highly recyclable waste materials. It is much easier to grind old paper than to cut down a tree, and it is much easier to melt an old aluminum can that to mine and refine bauxite; that is why scrap yards exist.

What are Scrap Yards for?

The purpose of a scrap yard is to buy scrap metal (and sometimes other waste materials) at competitive prices so value can be pulled out of a waste stream. The scrap yard will buy the material by the pound — or by the ton — and will pay you depending on what type of material you are selling. Most trips to the scrap yard involve selling more than one type of scrap metal.

A scrap yard, essentially, is a waste material broker. Their main reason for existing is to correctly and reliably funnel different types of materials to different refiners. They buy scrap metals in small quantities, gather large amounts in a scrap heap, and then sell it all for more money to refineries. (Refineries will only buy large volumes of scrap metal by contract from a well-established supplier.)


What is Scrap Metal?

Scrap metal refers to any number of metal waste materials, and is often the result of industrial, construction, demolition or repair processes involving metal or metal products. Some simple examples of scrap metal categories are  steelaluminumcopper, stainless steel, electric motors and compressors.

A scrap yard is very interested in buying the many common types of scrap metals found in waste streams today. Old copper wire, broken appliances, and scrap automobiles all get bought for different prices at the scrap yard. You’ll notice that they do not contain entirely metal.

Cars, refrigerators, and computers are all examples of things sold at a scrap yard despite having small to medium amounts of contamination.

Scrap metal recycling is the most profitable form of recycling, and, for this reason, is sometimes overlooked in discussions on the matter of recycling and waste stream management. If your office takes the time to recycle paper or cardboard, it needs to recycle old computers, broken tools, or aluminum cans too.

How to Sell Scrap Metal:

The process for selling scrap metal is straight forward, but it’s best to go to the scrap yard knowing as much as possible.

  1. Sort Your Metal: This is done before you get to the scrap yard. Look over the different categories of scrap metal and channel your scrap into corresponding buckets and containers.  Nobody at the scrap yard, including the employees, will want to show you any mercy if your material isn’t sorted correctly. They will simply pay you the price of the cheapest material you left unsorted. Everybody sees not sorting your materials as a huge waste of their time, including the people waiting in line behind you!
  2. Drive to The Scrap Yard w/ your ID: This is most easily done with a truck or trailer. Make sure you have everything strapped down and secured or you will get ticketed (or worse)! The scrap yard needs your ID to verify your age, track what you sell, and to check your name against the state police’s “blacklist” of metal thieves.
  3. Unload your Scrap Metal: Keeping things as organized as possible, you will unload your scrap metal by whatever process the scrap yard chooses. Almost all scrap yards will have a truck scale to weigh your vehicle and a small scale for weighing buckets, pallets, or small containers. If it is your first time at a particular scrap yard, talk to an employee before unloading anything.
  4. Ask questions: This is pretty simple; but, if not done tactfully, it may cause you more harm than good. It’s ok that you don’t know something, but avoid seeming helpless. It is a balancing act of not seeming naïve, but still asking as many questions as possible. Research Scrap Metal as much as you can before departing for the scrap yard.
  5. Get weighed: Your scrap metals will all get weighed one-at-a-time, category by category. You will then be given a paper slip which you cash out at the nearby pay window.
  6. Get Paid: You get paid more for having more metal. You get paid more for having the expensive metal. And you get paid most when you have more of the expensive metal.
  7. Be Friendly: Treat others as you would like to be treated; Remember, you are not the scrap yard’s customer; you are their supplier!

Where is the Nearest Scrap Yard?

The nearest scrap yard is most likely within a 10-30 minutes drive from where ever you are now. If you live near or inside of a large city, chances are you are just around the corner from a scrap yard and you don’t even know it.

(Just check Google Maps by searching “Southern Metals Recycling”) 

This article filled with great information was written by:


We look forward to seeing you soon!

Southern Metals Recycling – (910) 762-2646

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Recycle and Get $$$ For It!

We are located on Highway 421, just 2 miles north of the Battleship up on the left. There is a big red Southern Metals sign…you can’t miss us!

We purchase and recycle all ferrous and non-ferrous metals, such as:

  • Steel: $.105 – .12/lb
  • Copper: $.95 – 2.85/lb
  • Aluminum (including cans): $.45/lb
  • Stainless Steel: $.45/lb
  • Brass: $.95 – 1.40/lb
  • Car Batteries: $.25/lb
  • Junk Cars: $.105/lb
  • Electric Motors: $.20/lb
  • Compressors: $.15/lb

***Prices subject to change each month

Visit Us Online at: Southern Metals Recycling – Contact Us at: (910) 762-2646 

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Statue of Liberty…Guess How Many Pounds of Copper?

Copper Recycling Facts 

  • A Boeing 727 contains about 9,000 pounds of copper
  • We’re in no danger of running out of copper. Known worldwide resources of this important and valuable metal are estimated at nearly 5.8 trillion pounds of which only about 0.7 trillion (12%) have been mined throughout history.
  • Nearly all of that 0.7 trillion (or 700 billion) pounds is still in circulation because copper’s recycling rate is higher than that of any other engineering metal.
  • Until well into the 1800s, most copper used in the U.S.A. had to be imported. Today, we are virtually self-sufficient and, worldwide, second only to Chile in production.
  • Each year in the U.S.A., nearly as much copper is recovered from recycled material as is derived from newly mined ore. Excluding wire production, most of which uses newly refined copper, more than three-fourths of the amount used by copper and brass mills, ingot makers, foundries, powder plants and other industries comes from recycled scrap.
  • Almost half of all recycled copper scrap is old post-consumer scrap, such as discarded electric cable, junked automobile radiators and air conditioners, or even ancient Egyptian plumbing. (Yes, it’s been around that long.)
  • The remainder is new scrap, such as chips and turnings from screw machine production.
  • U.S. copper mine production in 2002 dropped to 2,516 million pounds from 2001’s 2,954 million pounds.
  • The 2002 level of 7,313 million pounds is a 6.0% decrease from the revised 2001 level of 7,780 million pounds.
  • Exports of mill products in 2002 continued to decline also, down 7.1% at 735 million pounds versus imports of 909 million pounds, a decrease of 10.0% from 2001 levels.
  • The Statue of Liberty is made entirely of copper which is the reason it is green (from Patina(fancy for rust)). After being up since 1886 the weathering and oxidation of the copper skin has amounted to just .005 of an inch.
  • The Statue of Liberty is made of 179,000 pounds of copper
  • Copper is man’s oldest metal, dating back more than 10,000 years. A copper pendant discovered in what is now northern Iraq goes back to about 8700 B.C.
  • The H.M.S. Beagle, used by Charles Darwin for his historic voyages around the world, was built in 1825 with copper skins below the water line. The copper sheathing extended hull life and protected against barnacles and other kinds of biofouling. Today most seagoing vessels use a copper-containing paint for hull protection.
  • Paul Revere, of Revolutionary War fame, produced the copper hull sheathing, bronze cannon, spikes and pumps for the U.S.S. Constitution, known as “Old Ironsides.” Revere was one of the earliest American coppersmiths.
  • One of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls found in Israel is made of copper instead of more fragile animal skins. The scroll contains no biblical passages or religious writings – only clues to a still undiscovered treasure.
  • Archeologists have recovered a portion of a water plumbing system from the Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt. The copper tubing used was found in serviceable condition after more than 5,000 years.
  • A museum at the University of Pennsylvania displays a copper frying pan that has been dated to be more than 50 centuries old.
  • Some things never change! Ten thousand years ago, cave dwellers used copper axes as weapons and tools for survival. Today, high tech surgeons save lives and precious blood by using copper-clad scalpels. The copper conducts an electric current that heats the scalpel to make it self-cauterizing.
  • The first copper deposit worked extensively in America (by non-native Americans) is located in Granby, Connecticut. It was operated from 1705 until 1770.
  • Pure copper’s melting point is 1,981ºF (1,083ºC).
  • Brasses and Bronzes are probably the most well-known families of copper-base alloys. Brasses are mainly copper and zinc. Bronzes are mainly copper along with alloying elements such as tin, aluminum, silicon or beryllium.
  • Zebra mussels, brought to North America on freighters from Europe, are kept from clogging the water intakes of power companies around the Great Lakes through the use of copper alloy screens that reject their attachment and impede growth.
  • An average single-family home uses 439 pounds of copper.
    • In an average single-family home, you will find about:
      • 195 pounds – building wire
      • 151 pounds – plumbing tube, fillings, valves
      • 24 pounds – plumbers’ brass goods
      • 47 pounds – built-in appliances
      • 12 pounds – builders hardware
      • 10 pounds – other wire and tube
    • An average multifamily unit uses 278 pounds of copper:
      • 125 pounds – building wire
      • 82 pounds – plumbing tube, fittings, valves
      • 20 pounds – plumbers’ brass goods
      • 38 pounds – built-in appliances
      • 6 pounds – builders hardware
      • 7 pounds – other wire and tube
    • General levels of copper use in major appliances:
      • 52 pounds – unitary air conditioner
      • 48 pounds – unitary heat pump
      • 5.0 pounds – dishwasher
      • 4.8 pounds – refrigerator/freezer
      • 4.4 pounds – clothes washer
      • 2.7 pounds – dehumidifier
      • 2.3 pounds – disposer
      • 2.0 pounds – clothes dryer
      • 1.3 pounds – range
  • Some 10,000 copper range hoods and 20,000 weather vanes are produced annually, using about 7 pounds of copper each.
  • The average house has 12 lockset’s: 2½ are keyed, the rest are passage sets. The average multifamily unit has 6 lockset’s – 1½ keyed, the remainder are passage sets.
  • There are probably about a billion doorknobs in the U.S., weighing in with about 500-600 million pounds of copper.
  • There is an average of 50-55 electrical outlets per home and some 15-20 switches. That translates to between 2½ and 3 pounds of copper alloy for these uses per house.


Quite interesting facts and no wonder why there are so many theft issues with copper. Thank goodness Southern Metals is helping crack down on theft by following the new laws passed in October. We have increased the amount of documentation required when it comes to copper and other recycling materials.

If you have any questions on pricing or what materials we accept, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.
Thank you for recycling,

Southern Metals Recycling – Wilmington, NC

(910) 762-2646

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How Many Steel Cans Does The Average Household Use Each Year?

Check out some of the most interesting facts that I have found about scrap metal recycling. It is interesting to see how many steel cans a household uses in a year.

Steel Recycling Facts

  • A 60-watt light bulb can be run for over a day on the amount of energy saved by recycling 1 pound of steel.
  • In one year in the United States, the recycling of steel saves enough energy to heat and light 18 million homes.
  • Recycling one ton of steel saves about 2.5 tons of iron ore, 1 ton of coal and 120 pounds of limestone.
  • The recycling rates of steel packaging are at 46%, in comparison to aluminum at just under 24%.
  • Recycling one ton of steel scrap saves more than 80% of the CO2 emissions produced when making steel from Iron ore.
  • Each household in the United States used approximately 600 steel cans per year.
  • Recycling seven steel cans saves enough energy to power a 60 watt light bulb for 26 hours.
  • Every year the United States saves enough energy, by recycling steel, to supply Los Angeles with nearly a decade’s worth of electricity.
  • Americans throw away (dispose, not recycle) enough iron and steel to supply all the nation’s automakers on a continuous basis.
  • A steel mill that recycles scrap reduces related water pollution, air pollutions, and mining wastes by about 70%.
  • Everyday Americans use enough steel to run a steel pipe line from New York to Los Angeles and back to New York.
  • The first company in U.S. history to become a billion dollar business was U.S. Steel.
  • Steel is the most recycled material in the world – more than aluminum, glass & paper combined.
  • On average a little more than 9,000 steel cans are removed from landfills with a magnet every minute
  • Food cans usually contain a tin coating which is a valuable metal. 70% to 80% of this tin is recovered in the recycling process of food cans.
  • More than 80 million tons of steel are recycled each year in North America.
  • Steel products can be recycled repeatedly without loss of strength.
  • Recycling steel saves the equivalent energy to power 18 million households for a year.
  • The amount of energy needed to produce a ton of steel has been reduced 34 percent since 1972.
  • Over $10 billion has been invested to create a New Steel that is better for the environment.
  • It takes more than 40 trees to build a wood-framed home. It takes approximately four recycled cars to frame typical 2000 sq ft. house.
  • 83,000 tons of steel was needed to build the Golden Gate Bridge. Only half of that would be needed now.
  • 600 steel cans or tin cans are recycled every second.


Hope you enjoyed today’s facts about Scrap Metal Recycling,

Southern Metals Recycling – Wilmington, NC

Call us for updated pricing on scrap metal – (910) 762-2646

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Southern Metals Recycling – Scrap & Aluminum Facts


Scrap Facts

  • Scrap has been an important export commodity from the United States for over 120 years.
  • $15.7 Billion worth of scrap commodities were exported in 2007.
  • Scrap Recycling was an $86 billion dollar industry in the US in 2008.
  • Scrap metal was the 2nd largest export to China in dollar value in 2007.
  • 75% of all “trash” can be recycled.


Aluminum Recycling Facts

  • A used aluminum can is recycled and back on the grocery shelf as a new can in as little as 60 days. That’s closed loop recycling at its finest!
  • Other types of aluminum, such as siding, gutters, car components, storm window frames, and lawn furniture can also be recycled.
  • An aluminum can that is thrown away will still be a can 500 years from now.
  • Used aluminum beverage cans are the most recycled item in the U.S., but currently only every second can is recycled.
  • There is no limit to the number of times aluminum cans may be recycled.
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours — or the equivalent of a half a gallon of gasoline.
  • We use over 80 billion aluminum soda cans every year.
  • Recycling 1KG (2.20lbs) of Aluminum saves up to 6KG (13.2lbs) of bauxite, 4KG (8.8lbs) of chemical products, and most importantly 14 kWh of electricity.
  • If all the aluminum cans in the United States were recycled there would be 14 million fewer dustbins annually.
  • Recycling aluminum saves 95% of the energy used to make the material from scratch. That means you can make 20 cans out of recycled material with the same amount it takes to make one can out of new material. Energy savings in 2007 were enough to light a city the size of Detroit for 8 years.
  • Americans throw away (dispose, not recycle) enough aluminum every month to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet.
  • During Christmas time there are over 300 million cans used per week.
  • Americans use 100 million cans per day.
  • When you toss out aluminum cans you waste as much energy as if you We’re cheap filled the same can half full with gasoline, and just threw it on the ground.
  • The 36 billion Aluminum cans land filled last year had a scrap value of 600 million dollars. Makes you wonder if in the future we’ll be mining our old landfills for the aluminum we’ve already thrown away.
  • 97% of all beverage cans are aluminum.
  • North America is currently recycling 2/3 of aluminum cans, nowhere close to the amount we should be recycling.
  • Making cans from recycled aluminum cuts air related pollution by 95%.
  • In 2003, 54 billion cans were recycled, saving the energy equivalent of 15 million barrels of crude oil – America’s entire gas consumption for one day.
  • 350,000 aluminum cans are produced every minute!
  • During the time it takes you to read this sentence, 50,000 12-ounce aluminum cans are made!
  • Aluminum can manufacturers have been making cans lighter — in 1972 each pound of aluminum produced 22 cans; today it yields 29 cans!
  • At one time, aluminum was more valuable than gold!
  • It is estimated that since 1972 some 16 million tons of aluminum cans have been recycled. These 785.6 billion aluminum cans placed end-to-end could stretch to the moon more than 249 times!
  • In 1972, 53 million pounds of aluminum cans were recycled. Today, we exceed that amount weekly. Some 119,482 cans are recycled every minute nationwide!
  • Aluminum cans have tremendous value. In 1996, Americans earned $1.08 billion by recycling aluminum cans. Since 1972, Americans have earned almost $8.9 billion by recycling aluminum cans!
  • The weight of aluminum cans recycled in 1996 was equal to the weight of 14 aircraft carriers — 983,709 tons!
  • In 1972, it took about 22 empty, aluminum cans to weigh one pound. Due to advanced technology to use less material and increase durability of aluminum cans, in 2002 it takes about 34 empty aluminum cans to weigh one pound.


Hope you enjoyed this week’s Scrap Facts,

Southern Metals Recycling – Wilmington, NC




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