Aluminum Scrap Metal Recycling: The Life Cycle of a Soda Can

Posted on March 28, 2013 by - Scrap Metal Recycling

Ferrous Processing & Trading accepts all forms of aluminum scrap metal for recycling.  As one of the most commonly recycled metals in the country, aluminum is a popular consumer-recycled material.  Aluminum scrap metal is also one of the most efficient metals to recycle because it can be processed an indefinite number of times without losing any integrity or quality.  Also, making new products from recycled aluminum scrap is as efficient or more efficient than creating the products from virgin ore.

Seeing Green – Saving Energy and Money

One of the most well-known forms of aluminum scrap is the aluminum can.  Aluminum cans most often contain beverages which are consumed in huge quantities in the United States.  In fact, Earth911 reports that the average employee consumes 2.5 beverages per day while at work – this equates to a lot of used cans that companies or individuals could be saving for profit.  Each empty can is worth about 1 cent on the metal recycling market, but those pennies add up quickly.

Each can is worth more than just its market value, because each can represents saved energy costs as well.  Earth911 also reports that making new aluminum cans from used cans takes 95 percent less energy than using virgin metal.  This means twenty recycled cans can be made with the energy needed to produce one new can with virgin aluminum. By using recycled aluminum cans, manufacturers also help preserve priceless natural resources and leave more natural habitats undisturbed.

Aluminum scrap, like aluminum cans, is generally collected by scrap metal recycling facilities.  The recycling company pays out a fee to the company or individual who brings it in, and then processes the scrap metal into a usable form for manufacturers.

Once the manufacturers purchase the recycled aluminum, they can use it to create new cans.  According to Earth911, this process includes the following steps:

  1. Cup Forming – coiled aluminum sheets are fed through a press to punch out shallow cups.
  2. Redrawing and Ironing – Cups are fed into the ironing press to reduce thickness of the walls and form an elongated can shape with a domed bottom.
  3.  Trimming – the rough shell is trimmed and formed
  4. Cleaning – the cans are cleaned and prepared for commercial use
  5. Printing – the cans are printed with company brands, logos, and images
  6. Varnishing – the bottom of the can is varnished for added protection and then the can is run through a hot dryer to set the ink
  7. Inside Spraying – the can is sprayed with a protective coating and then returned to a dryer to set the spray
  8. Shaping – the cans are given a smaller neck at the top and wider bottom to allow for stacking and storing.
  9. Inspection – the cans are run through a light tester to detect imperfections such as pin holes
  10. Packaging – Stored and shipped to beverage companies to be filled and distributed.


The recycling process for aluminum cans takes about 60 days (from first use, to be recycled, to appear back on shelves in the store).

Aluminum scrap metal is accepted at all Ferrous Processing & Trading (FPT) scrap metal recycling facilities.  FPT works with large industrial manufacturers, corporate clients, and individual private suppliers.

About Ferrous Processing & Trading

Ferrous Processing & Trading is one of North America’s premier processors, sellers, and recyclers of scrap metals of all kinds.  They are supported by the unique skills and experience of the management, commercial, and operations teams.  Their ownership assures both financial strength and a deep commitment to the industry and their customers.  FPT’s reputation is built on the core values of integrity, expertise, responsiveness, and creativity in the scrap metal recycling industry.

Ferrous Processing & Trading is a key supplier to the metals industry of North America.  They are also a major scrap metals management company for the U.S. auto industry.  From every stage of the metal recycling process from the assembly line to the used parts pile then through the scrap processing yard and into the furnace, FPT has the right answers for handling and marketing metal.

Ferrous Processing & Trading

3400 E. Lafayette

Detroit, MI 48207