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Oklahoma State University

Recycling: Metal

We all know metal is recycled, but that’s enough about music. Metals are perhaps the most important of all materials to recycle because the energy consumed by recycling metals is a fraction of the energy that it takes to make new metal. Let’s remember the end of Terminator 2 and see how to send metals to be recycled.  Remember to rinse cans to keep nasty vermin away.  Recyclables are hand-sorted in Stillwater!

Aluminum Cans

  • Recyclable? YES! It’s much easier to recycle aluminum cans than it is to recycle plastics.
  • Where to put it: If something says “Aluminum” or “Can” on it like those pretty blue PepsiCo bins or the City of Stillwater’s recycling collection locations, toss the empty cans in there. BOOM! That’s it! Now go recycle the can that contained the energy drink that dragged you through your exam and take a well-deserved nap, you avid recycler, you.
  • You can recycle your beer cans! Wait… I can drink alcohol if I recycle? NO! Opposite! You can recycle if you drink alcohol. The SGA Sustainability Committee runs a game day recycling program for tailgating at OSU football games. Grab a green bag from them, put your aluminum cans in there, tie it up, and leave it near (not on) the nearest sidewalk or street. Volunteers (yes, you can help) gather the bags, sort the contents, and send them to Habitat for Humanity as a donation. Email to get involved!
  • Do you enter contests or collect points? Do you call into radio shows or steal everyone’s bottle caps for MyCoke rewards? Good for you! Pepsi and Waste Management will help you feed your appetite for free stuff. Go find a blue PepsiCo recycling kiosk on campus and start trading your plastic bottles and aluminum cans for points!
  • Why or why not: Aluminum is melted down to become new aluminum. If there’s a little soda in that can you tossed then it will feed a colony of ants that will then develop diabetes or something. It’s really not cool to give ants diabetes, so empty and/or rinse your cans before recycling them please.

Aluminum Foil/Tin Foil

  • Recyclable? Yes, but only if it’s clean. Food and grease can contaminate the aluminum. If you only used it as a hat to keep “them” from reading your thoughts or controlling your brain, get help and recycle that foil.
  • Where to put it: On campus? Put it in the trash can. Off campus? Throw your balls of aluminum (because who folds aluminum foil?) in with your cans.
  • Why or why not: Food and grease tend to burn to the aluminum and reduce the purity of the batch of recycling. Please only recycle clean foil.
  • HISTORY LESSON: Aluminum foil is often referred to as “tin foil” because tin was commonly used for foil before people figured out how to make rolls of super thin aluminum foil around 1937-ish. Aluminum foil became more popular because the tin foil made food taste “all tin-ey” (what? I didn't say this was a vocabulary lesson).

Steel/Tin Cans

  • Recyclable? Yes.
  • Where to put it: These are not accepted in the OSU Recycles program, but they are accepted in the ResLife Recycles program. Remove all contents and rinse cans. Use a spatula to remove sticky food. Labels may be left on cans. 
  • Why or why not: Tin cans, much like tin foil, are not made of tin. They are made of steel. Some of them have a tin lining, but the name is lying to you nonetheless. Smashing the cans down saves space, and it is fun to smash things!

Copper, brass, steel, and other metals that you are not as likely to have lying around

  • Recyclable? Yes.
  • Where to put it: The Habitat for Humanity ReStore. They will take anything that is 90% metal or more. This includes that rusty old bicycle you said you would ride to class that you haven’t touched in three semesters and your mini-fridge after you forget to empty it before unplugging it during winter break (like you’re supposed to) and your compressor explodes or something (that doesn't really happen).
  • Why or why not: Habitat for Humanity is a great place to donate and volunteer because they do so much for the community. They amass this scrap metal and sell it to recyclers in order to help fund their good deeds.

Habitat for Humanity ReStore
505 East 18th Avenue Stillwater, OK 74074
Hours: Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday 9am-5pm & Saturday 9am-1pm
They will take anything that is 90% metal or more.

City of Stillwater Convenience Collection Center
807 South Perkins Road Stillwater, OK 74074
Hours:  Tuesday-Friday  10am-6pm
             Saturday 8am-4pm
             CLOSED Sunday-Monday & All Recognized City Holidays

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