Which Metals Are Not Recyclable?

Which Metals Are Not Recyclable?

Which Metals Are Not Recyclable?

Most commonly used metals can be recycled. However, some are too hazardous to reprocess. It is worth knowing what these metals are to avoid wasting time and effort bringing them to a facility. More importantly, you also help save recycling sorters the trouble of handling unrecyclable metals. It is also essential to know that you should not combine recyclable with unrecyclable metals to avoid contamination. 

Radioactive metals

These include plutonium and uranium, but ordinary people do not easily access these metals unless they are chemists or military engineers. It is unlikely to find these metals in a typical household as well. They are not recycled as they would be very harmful to the environment and health. 


Mercury can be easily found in thermostats or fluorescent lamps. It is dangerous and can damage the lungs, nervous system, and kidneys. It can even affect children’s neurological development. This is why governments limited the use of mercury and regulated the administration and proper handling, storing, and transportation of this metal. There are certified recycling centers that handle hazardous mercury, so before bringing devices with mercury to your local center, confirm whether they handle and process it or not. 


Lead is a heavy metal that has long been used for its usefulness across various industries. It is soft and malleable, making it easily shaped into desired products. Unfortunately, it is also susceptible to water damage. However, lead is toxic, and exposure is detrimental to your health. This is also why it is no longer used for constructing pipelines and other applications that may lead to exposure. The most common use of lead is lead battery production found in cars and electronic devices. You can ask your recycling facility if they accept these devices, but some will take them and remove all harmful components before recycling other parts. 

Contaminated cans

One common practice of citizens who want to recycle metal is metal scrapping or bringing metal scraps to a scrap facility that handles the recycling. If you are one of them,  it is worth knowing that you will not be able to scrap certain items made of recyclable materials, such as contaminated cans and some household equipment. Contaminated cans include those with paint or motor oil, which may contain toxins. The issue is not with the aluminum can but with the product that it has been used for. You may ask a trusted aluminum recycling center near you whether they accept a particular can or not. Also, batteries, CDs, and gas tanks cannot be scrapped.


Just because you cannot recycle certain types of metals, it does not mean you can throw them into your regular bin with the rest of your garbage. Instead, you can take them to the appropriate centers for responsible waste management or put them in a separate container. Unfortunately, your lack of awareness may lead you to combine non-recyclable metals with recyclable ones. Even if you have the purest intentions, it could take a toll on the entire waste management system.