Can You Recycle Tin Cans?

August 4, 2021

Can you recycle tin cans? If you're looking to become a more conscious recycler - it's probably one of the first hurdles you're going to come across. Understanding what you can and can't recycle is a huge part of doing your bit for the environment.

The good news is - yes, you can recycle your tin cans! While there are few details we are going to work through today, most tin, steel and aluminium cans are completely recyclable. Not only are tin cans great for storing food, but they can also be recycled and used repeatedly.

While most metal cans are recyclable, it is important that we establish how to recycle them. Unfortunately, when disposed of incorrectly, not only are some cans unable to be recycled, but they can also contaminate whole batches of other recycled materials.

Can You Recycle Tin Cans?

Yes - but only if you have cleaned them first! The golden rule to recycling your tin and metal containers is to clean them first. It doesn’t have to be sterilised; all you need to do is empty the can out and rinse it with water, so that there are no scraps or material is left inside. If you do not rinse the cans out, the left-over food or liquid can contaminate other recyclable materials.

What Are Tin Cans Made Of?

While we may call them a tin can, most cans today are not actually made of tin. Traditionally, tin was used, however many cans today are made of aluminium or different types of metal. Aluminium is often used as it is more readily available, easily shaped, and resistant to corrosion and rust. Whether you have an old tin can or a new one made of aluminium, both can be recycled. When cans are recycled, they are melted down and reshaped for a new purpose - such as car parts!

Are Tuna Cans Recyclable Too?

Yes! You can recycle tuna cans, but only if you have completely washed out the inside of the can and taken the lid off.

Can You Recycle Tin Can Lids?

Just like the cans themselves, metal lids can be recycled. If it is from a ring pull can, pull the lid completely off and clean it just like you would a normal can. Once it is nice and clean, dispose of it in your recycling bin. Whilst glass is a different material, many jars such as jam or glass sauce bottles have metal lids. You can dispose of these in the exact same way. For more information on recycling glass material, check out our article on How to Dispose of Broken Glass.

Tip: Place the tin can lids inside a tin can and then squeeze or crush the top of the can so they do not fall out. Tin can lids are quite sharp and it is best to keep them secured.

Can You Recycle Tin Cans if They Contain Aerosols?

There is a common misconception that you can't recycle aerosol cans. When in actual fact, they can be recycled just like many other metal materials and tin cans.

If your aerosol can is intact and doesn’t contain any nasty chemicals, it can be easily recycled in your household bin. Aerosol cans are made from steel or aluminium which can be infinitely recycled in Australia.

To make sure the can is empty, hold down the trigger to ensure there is not anything left inside. Once the can is empty, remove any plastic parts if possible and place it in your recycling bin. Make sure not to squash or pierce the bottle.

If your aerosol can is not empty or contains hazardous material, it should be disposed of through your councils’ program for hazardous waste.  

Aerosol cans are used in kitchens, bathrooms, laundries, and sheds, so make sure you are responsibly recycling your aerosols from all over the house.

Please be aware that butane cans or canisters such as ones used for cooking and camping are not recyclable if there is any gas left in them. These canisters are highly flammable and should not be recycled in your curbside bins. These items can be disposed of through your councils chemical disposal program or with rubbish removal professionals such as Ridly who offer leading removal services, including household rubbish removal.

Other items that should be treated similar to this include household cleaners, garden chemicals, paints and automotive products. Remember it is not just about what your aerosol can is made of, but the contents inside too.

Can You Recycle Empty Paint Tins?

If you are looking to recycle your paint tins, the first step is to make sure they are completely dry. Once your paint tin is dry, you can remove the lid and place it in the general collection or recycling bin, depending on your council guidelines.

Can you recycle tin can lids from paint as well? Yes, just make sure it is clean and free from any chemicals or paint.

The less paint in your can the better. Try to give it a thorough clean. Dry paint can be disposed of in your general waste bin.

What About Bottle Tops?

Did you know that you can recycle bottle tops in the same way you recycle tuna cans? Too many people overlook the fact that we can recycle little bottle tops, throwing them in their general rubbish collection. All that is required is a little preparation.

Can you recycle tin cans with bottle tops in them? You can kill two birds with one stone here. Grab a clean and empty tin can and start filling it up with your bottle tops. Once the can is full, all you need to do is crimp the top of the tin closed so the bottle tops can’t fall out. Then all you need to do is put the can in your metal recycling bin.

It is important to follow this last step as small items like bottle caps are small enough to jam up the machinery or fall off the conveyor belts in a recycling centre. As we are all looking to reduce our waste and become more conscious recyclers, it is important to remember how we are disposing of these products to ensure they can be recycled correctly.

Can You Recycle Tin Trays?

So, can you recycle tin trays? Absolutely! Aluminium foil can come in many shapes and forms, whether it be the peel of a yoghurt container, foil trays for prebaked goods, or simply a sheet of aluminium foil from your kitchen.

However small lightweight pieces should be scrunched or balled together and placed into another recyclable metal container. If left loose, these lightweight pieces can fly off the sorting line. This includes foil wrappers like the ones found for chocolates. All you need to do is ball them up and place them in another tin can or metal container you are recycling.

Can You Recycle Sardine Cans Like This Too?

Of course! Just like with the tin cans, it is important that you give the foil a very good wash to get off any food or liquid that could contaminate other material in the recycling process.

Upcycling Your Tin Cans

Asking questions like, “Can you recycle empty paint tins?”, or “Can you recycle sardine cans?” are a great starting point for becoming an eco-warrior, but want to know how you can up your game? Upcycling!

Upcycling refers to when you find new uses for your tin cans or other items without putting them in the bin. With just a little bit of creativity, there are so many ways you can use your old tin cans or foil trays in new ways. Here are a few examples of upcycling tin cans:

  • Tin can creature creation for kids
  • Using tin cans as small planter boxes
  • Using tin cans as stationary holders or storage

Where Can You Recycle Tin Cans?

So, you’ve set your tuna cans, paint tins and tin cans aside for responsible disposal, but where can you recycle them?

1. Household Recycling Bin

A convenient method for most Australians is through their household recycling bins. All councils around Australia will collect your bins as part of their weekly or fortnightly rubbish collection service.  Can you recycle tin cans in these recycling bins, you most certainly can? Just make sure your bin isn’t too heavy and all loose items are secured. While you may be an expert on recycling your tin cans, it is important that all the other items in your bin are correctly placed there as well. If your bin is filled with other items that shouldn’t be in there, chances are the rubbish collectors won’t take your bin.

2. Council Recycling Centre

If you have a substantial amount of tin or metal rubbish, or perhaps have items with chemicals or hazardous material in them. There are council recycling centers you can take your items to. Just make sure to check the opening times as they can be intermittent.

3. Professional Rubbish Removal

Need to have your tins cans or other metals removed and disposed of right away? Perhaps you're looking to remove a large collection of tin cans and need the help of a professional. Whatever the reason you're looking for fast, reliable and affordable rubbish removal, Ridly are the experts.

The Ridly household rubbish removal Sydney services provide residents with a dependable and friendly same day service that is available seven days a week. If you're looking for someone to do the dirty work for you, we're your guys. We offer leading household rubbish removal, scrap metal pick up, commercial waste removal and responsible recycling services. Whatever you need taken, we've got you sorted! Get a quote or give us a call today to learn more.

Ready to be rid of it? Grab a quick quote from our team.

Call us on 0488 846 336.

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