What We Buy: Aluminum

Aluminum—the stuff your soda can is made of—is a pretty amazing metal. It comprises about eight percent of Earth’s land mass and is one of the most commonly used nonferrous (not iron-based) metals around.

Aluminum is one of the easiest products to recycle, since it can be melted down and fashioned into new products infinitely. At Gardner Metals, we love getting aluminum donations, and we pay for the privilege of taking recyclables off your hands. Here’s what you need to know before you bring in your aluminum for recycling.

Why Recycle Aluminum?

If you’re considering recycling aluminum found around your home or your place of business, you’re making a great choice for the environment. Unlike other materials, aluminum can be melted down and reused indefinitely without losing strength or fidelity, making it an ideal candidate for recycling.

What’s more, aluminum recycling is much greener than refining new metal. Aluminum is almost never found by itself as pure ore; instead, it’s deposited in a mineral-laden rock called bauxite. The process of extracting pure aluminum from bauxite is very labor- and resource-intensive. We won’t bore you with the ins and outs of the whole refinement process, but basically, it involves melting the bauxite at extremely high temperatures (around 1,000 degrees Celsius) and placing it in a caustic chemical bath of sodium hydroxide.

As you might imagine, it takes a lot of energy to maintain temperatures that high. In fact, recycling aluminum takes just 5 percent of the energy used to refine raw aluminum. And unlike aluminum smelting, the aluminum recycling process doesn’t emit perfluorocarbons, an extremely harmful greenhouse gas.

Basically, it’s better for everyone if you bring used aluminum products in for recycling. And if you bring them to Gardner Metals, we’ll pay you for making the effort. What could be better than that?

Where to Find Aluminum Scrap

As the main ingredient in cans, foil wrapping, bike frames, metal siding, screen doors, car rims and thousands of other products we use every day, it’s safe to say aluminum is all around us. Here are some of the most common places you’ll find aluminum around your home or work.

  • Automobile Parts. Parts like car rims have always been made out of metal, but as the demand for fuel-efficient autos has grown, car makers are increasingly replacing heavier steel components with lighter aluminum parts. Look for aluminum in your old car’s engine radiators, wheels, bumpers, suspension parts, engine cylinder blocks, transmission, hood, doors and possibly even the frame.
  • Bicycles. All sorts of vehicles are built from aluminum, including bicycles. Many bike frames are made out of aluminum, although some may be titanium—another recyclable metal.
  • Aluminum Cans. Aluminum recycling centers can melt old cans down and have them back on store shelves in just 60 days, making aluminum can recycling one of the most efficient reuse processes around. Bring your aluminum can donations directly to our South Austin facility or arrange a bulk pickup with us to handle larger loads.
  • Aluminum Foil. Known by the misnomer tin foil, kitchen foil is actually made out of aluminum. Most curbside recycling programs accept aluminum foil, although you can bring larger amounts to a recycling facility as well.
  • Household Appliances. Large household appliances like your refrigerator, washer and dryer, and dishwasher often contain parts made from aluminum. Smaller appliances like slow cookers and stand mixers are sometimes made of aluminum, too. All of these items are accepted at metal recycling centers—just search “aluminum recycling near me.” Most centers will even help you haul larger appliances.
  • Cookware. Pots and pans, flatware, silverware and other utensils are often made out of aluminum and can all be recycled at Gardner Metals.
  • Window Frames, Siding, and Other Construction Elements. Aluminum even helps us build our homes. Common aluminum items in construction include window frames, siding, screen doors, facades, sinks, faucets and structural frames. You can bring them all to our facility for aluminum recycling. We even offer demolition and removal services for large construction projects.
  • Computer Parts. There’s plenty of aluminum hiding in your laptop and PC. From the processor to the heat sink to the hard drive, aluminum makes up a vital part of a computer’s assembly. Computers also contain valuable gold, copper, silver and platinum, making them a great candidate for recycling. Gardner Metals will happily accept your used electronics and pay you for the metal we can recoup from them.
  • Sports and Outdoors Equipment. Golf clubs, baseball bats, tent frames, soccer goals, basketball hoops—and even water bottles—are often made out of aluminum. Bring all your used gear to our metal recycling facilities, and we’ll give you money to put toward new equipment.

Aluminum Recycling Rates

The rates for aluminum change daily, so it would be impossible to list them here. While aluminum is not one of the most valuable metals we buy, we think you’ll find the money you earn—with the added bonus of a cleaner home and/or worksite—is well worth the effort it takes to donate recyclables. We always offer competitive rates on every metal we buy.

If you want to make your donations even more valuable, you can do so by cleaning and sorting materials before you bring them into our facilities. We’ll usually add a little extra to your rate as a thank you for doing some of our work for us.

How Gardner Metals Can Help You Recycle Aluminum

At Gardner Metal Recycling, we buy all types of aluminum, including cans, window and door frames, sheet metal, and aluminum alloys. We even accept cars for recycling. Automotive aluminum is very valuable and recyclable!

Not sure if we will accept your material? Just give us a call!

As Austin’s premier aluminum recycling center, we offer competitive pricing for your aluminum scrap with easy and professional drop-off. And because we want to encourage aluminum recycling for the good of our planet and economy, most aluminum material is considered for purchase.

Call or come in for your free quote today!