Do recycling centers still pay for aluminum cans?

May 21, 2023

Aluminum is everywhere, from beer and soft drink cans to lawn chairs and building products. One of the best things about aluminum is that it is the most commonly recycled material out there, and one of the most valuable.

What’s So Great About Aluminum?

Aluminum is a lightweight metal that won’t rust or rot, it’s extremely durable, and it’s heat resistant. It can be formed into just about any shape. It’s the metal of choice for so many industries, but one of its most popular uses is in the manufacture of aluminum beverage cans.

When Did Aluminum Cans Become Popular?

Prior to the 1950s, most cans, including beverage cans, were made of an alloy of steel and tin. The first aluminum beverage can was manufactured by Reynolds Metals Company in 1963, and by the late 1960s, most major producers of soft drinks had adopted aluminum cans. They are lightweight, stackable, and strong, allowing brands to package and transport more beverages using less material.

Another attraction of the aluminum can was that it was made with only two pieces—a body and a top. This made 360-degree printing possible on the body of the can, increasing store display potential and shelf appeal. A can could now advertise its contents with dramatic and colorful graphics, drawing the consumer’s eye to the package and creating a visual draw to purchases of one brand over another.

How Much Are Aluminum Cans Worth in Recycling Centers?

Recycling centers will pay you for aluminum cans, usually by the pound, and it takes about 32 aluminum cans to make one pound. The price per pound varies greatly and is largely dependent on where you live. For example, if you live in California, your aluminum cans could be worth as much as $2.00 per pound, while prices on the East Coast can be as low as $. 05 per pound.

Some states have passed so-called “bottle bills” that pay consumers to return beverage containers, including aluminum cans. In these states, you’d be paid on a per-can basis, and the rates can go as high as $ .15 per can.

Final Words

Aluminum cans are the most sustainable beverage package in virtually every measure. Aluminum cans have a higher recycling rate and more recycled content than competing packaging. If you have a recycling center near your location, you should check with them to find out just how much you could earn by recycling those aluminum cans.

For generations, Okon Recycling has been a trusted leader in the international metal recycling industry.  Founded over 100 years ago, we’ve sustained our company by forming solid partnerships with our clients. We completely understand our clients’ systems and workflow, and we provide customized recycling solutions according to their specific needs. Over the years, we have kept millions of pounds of scrap out of landfills. By doing so, we’re paving the way for a cleaner and more sustainable future for generations to come.  If you would like to learn more about our company and the recycling services we offer, please visit or contact us at 214-717-4083.