Steel and Aluminium Can Recycling in Sydney

Steel and aluminium cans make up a massive percentage of recycled materials in Sydney. However, when it comes to household rubbish removal, there is a still an alarming amount of these products ending up in landfill, despite the ease of access to recycling services across Australia. An improved knowledge of what actually can be recycled will make a world of difference in making sure people are doing all they can to make sure Australia is as sustainable as can be, as well as knowing just a how big a difference it can make.


Responsible steel and aluminium can recycling is an absolutely crucial element of sustainable household rubbish removal  – here is a helpful fact sheet to help you make the right decisions.

The Facts

• In 2010, just over 30% of steel cans, and 67% of aluminium cans were recycled in Australia.

• The remainder end up in landfill. Australians send enough steel to landfill each year to build over 40,000 fridges.

• It takes the same amount of energy to make one can from raw materials as it does to make 20 from recycled aluminium.

• It takes just 60 days for a steel can to be recycled and be ready to be put on a supermarket shelf.

• It takes roughly 75% less energy make steel cans from recycled materials than it does with raw steel.

• Australians recycle roughly 2 billion aluminium cans each year.

• Each week we recycle roughly 17.5 million steel cans – enough to make 900 new cars.

• Recycling one tonne of steel saves on average 1131kg of iron ore, 54kg of limestone and 633kg of coal!

• The energy saved from recycling ONE steel can is enough to run your TV for three hours.

recycling cans

But What Happens To Aluminium When It’s Recycled?

Step 1: Collection

Cans are collected by a rubbish removal service from homes, offices, businesses or industrial areas. This is the most crucial part for consumers. Making sure that all the recyclable materials are separated from other rubbish types is the most important step. Cans are then taken to a recycling facility.

Step 2: Separation

Separation takes place in the recycling facility. Cans are passed through a large magnet, which will separate the steel from the aluminium as the latter won’t be picked up.

Step 3: Eddy Current Separation

The recycling facility then use an ‘eddy current’ to separate the aluminium from other materials. The ‘eddy current’ is used to stimulate a magnetic reaction in the aluminium.

Step 4: Baling

Next up is the ‘baling’ process where the separated cans are squashed into bales and transported to a smelter. Here they are shredded and passed under a magnet for the second time to remove any remaining pieces of steel. Now they are ready for melting.

Step 5: Melting 

Cans are heated by a de-coater which blast the cans at 500 degrees to prep the cans for melting. Once all the paint is stripped off, the cans are transferred to a furnace where they are melted at 700 degrees, forming a liquid.

Step 6: Moulding and Rolling

This liquid is place into moulds which are called ‘ingots’. Once they have set, these ingots are send to a rolling mill where they are flattened, ready to be made into new cans.

While the national focus on recycling is constantly improving, we still have a long way to go in terms of achieving total sustainability awareness. At a grassroots level it’s extremely important for consumers to understand the facts about recycling, and for this consciousness to become ingrained into their everyday lives. Recycling of cans is extremely efficient and there is no excuse for the average Australia not to recycle 100% of the steel and aluminium waste they produce.

If you’re in need of any rubbish disposal services contact us today or book a free quote online. Sydney Rubbish Services are more than capable of getting the job done right and in a eco-friendly manner.

• Statistics sourced from SITA.