Aluminum Can Recycling: How Metal is Recycled in Chicago

Recycling Aluminum Cans in Chicago

Aluminum is one of the most important – and most profitable – materials to recycle. Since its introduction in the early 1900s, nearly 75% of all aluminum ever produced is still in circulation. How? Because it is easy to recycle, the metal does not lose its quality no matter how many times it’s recycled, and most importantly, it takes 95% more energy to mine and produces new metal versus recycling old aluminum.



Understanding the Aluminum Recycling Industry

aluminum can recyclingBecause aluminum is used in so many applications, from aluminum cans to construction, to cars, there is a continual demand for it. Since it is so cheap to recycle aluminum, and so expensive to manufacture it from scratch, it commands a hefty price on the recycling market. In fact, the aluminum industry pays more than $800 million each year to recycling centers that pay end-consumers for their used aluminum.

But the most startling statistic is the amount of aluminum that still goes to landfills despite its value. In the US, the recycling rate for aluminum cans (not other sources of aluminum) is just 67%. That means nearly a billion dollars’ worth of aluminum is thrown into landfills every year – money that could be in the pockets of businesses and individuals instead!

How Metal is Recycled in Chicago

Aluminum cans can be recycled and be back on the shelf as a new can in as little as 60 days. Other forms of aluminum are turned into items such as household aluminum foil, window frames, gutters and screen doors, car parts, ladders, bike frames, and much more!

For all aluminum, the recycling process is similar:


Aluminum is sorted from other waste at an aluminum can recycling center. This begins at the individual level, whether at home, in an office or school recycling program, or in a manufacturing plant.

Recycling Facilities

Aluminum is taken to a local recycling facility. For individuals and businesses who participate in a curbside recycling program, the aluminum is picked up with all other recyclables. Consumers can also take their aluminum directly to a local recycling plant for cash based on the current market value. If you have a lot of metal to recycle, it may be worth your time to call several plants for their pricing before hauling it.

Cleaning & Processing

Aluminum is sorted (cans and other goods) and cleaned. The metal is melted and any impurities (ink, paper, etc.) removed. The melted aluminum is formed into large blocks called ingots.


The ingots are sold on the aluminum market where they are melted and manufactured into new cans and goods.

Combined Resources Inc. is Your Choice for Chicago Metal Recycling

For businesses that produce scrap aluminum or have large amounts of cans to recycle, partnering with Chicago-based metal recycling company, Combined Resources means you’ll get top dollar for your valuable metals, as well as cash for cans. We have relationships with all the local recycling facilities and will negotiate to sell your aluminum on your behalf, and return the profits to you, minus the fee for our services.

Get started with metal recycling with a free audit from CRI. Call 630-693-0111 today!

Comments are closed.