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Small Metal Household Items You Can Recycle

The 2013 statistics indicate that in the United States alone the average person produces about 4.4 pounds of garbage per day. This adds up to about 254 million tons of waste for the year with about 9 percent of this being composed of metal or metal compounds. The good news is that recycling and composting of trash removed approximately 87.2 million tons of waste from getting into landfills, which is a huge increase from the 15 million it was in 1980. 

However, while a lot of attention is given to recycling the large bits of metal such as cars and machinery, there are also smaller items that can be found accumulating in your home that you probably didn’t even think could be recycled. Here are a few.

Hanging around

Metal hangers can sometimes be the bane of your existence, especially since every trip to the dry cleaners gets you a whole new set. In fact, since it is estimated that the average American woman spends about $1500 on dry cleaning annually, this could translate to about 375 metal hangers per person that could end up in the trash. They can be recycled or donated. Since metal hangers have an odd shape, a low percentage of steel, and are often coated with a petroleum polymer, it makes them a little more challenging to recycle, so your local curbside program may not accept them and you may actually need to take them into the recycling center yourself.

However, hangers can also be donated to a local artist, high school, shelter, charity store, or second hand shop, or you could even return them to your dry cleaners for reuse. Dry cleaners especially might welcome the hangers as part of their own efforts to help protect the environment. In fact, in 2013, the Dry Cleaning Institute set a target for recycling approximately 30 million hangers worldwide and participating dry cleaners in your area might still be carrying on this initiative.

It’s in the keys

Another metal item that tends to accumulate over time is keys. You might find yourself with a drawer full of these and no clue what they were initially used for. Keys can be recycled and are actually considered to be scrap metal. This includes broken keys. However, keys cannot just be added to your curbside recycling bins and need to be taken in to the metal recycling center and added to the mixed metals bin. Just remember to remove the key rings, whether plastic, rubber or metal. It might also be wise to call ahead to ensure that the recycling center accepts keys before making the trip.

You can also ship your keys to recycling programs that use the proceeds from them to support charities such as the Multiple Sclerosis Society or shelters. You would be paying for shipping the keys, but you can think of this in the light of getting rid of the key nuisance while making a contribution to charity. That is “getting two birds with one stone,” as the saying goes.

For more information about metal items you can donate, contact a metal recycling center like Cen-Tex Scrap & Metal Inc.