Author Options:

What are they doing with these aluminum cans? Answered

  OK.  I go to several different scrap yards.  I have noticed at this particular one, that they do not crush their cans.  I didn't give it much thought till today.
   As you can see in the photo, they store their cans, in bags, in the back.  The people that came to get the cans are putting them into bigger bags and packing them into a huge box truck very tightly as if they are going to fill with as many as they can.  Not like it is just going across town.
  If these cans are to go to another state for a higher redemption price,  don't machines read the bar codes to prevent that?
  Also, the truck had a license plate from Sonora, Mexico.  Although that is pretty common around here, that may be part of the reason.


.  I've heard (but do not know if it's actually true) that many recycling stations will not accept crushed cans because it is easier to detect rocks and other heavy contaminants with uncrushed ones. Something about the weight/density - all 30-gallon bags of uncrushed cans will weigh pretty close to the same (the average density of the cans is pretty constant). Since every crusher doesn't do the same amount of crushing, it's hard for a station worker to determine if the increased weight/density is due to the crushing or a handful of rocks.
.  I would think that crushing before transporting would be more economical, but I really have no idea.

NachoMahma nailed it!  Crushed cans are much harder to verify (you'd have to check every single one for weight to make sure they're not loaded with sand or rocks, etc).

There are other reasons too.  One is that they're safer for humans to handle.  Say you have an ordinary large garbage bag full of cans.  Obviously the crushed cans would be a lot heavier, possibly too heavy for many people to safely lift by themselves.  Also, crushed cans can often have sharp edges which could cut a human sorter.

Another good reason is for regions that offer a return on a recycling deposit.  Crushed cans sometimes lock together so much that they become tedious to count.  If the program offers two different returns for say, beer cans and soda cans, they'll also need to be able to read the information on the can.  Sometimes they even need the barcode. 

So what you're saying is that I should stop crushing my cans before I recycle them?

 yes that is exactly wht we are saying do it or you could be blamed for a bad batch of aluminum when it goes to the forge

Awww, but I'm so good at crushing them with my bare hands!  Fine, I'll stop.  Unless I need to impress a girl.

 lol anyone can crush them with their bare hands or are you crushing them so they look like they have been stomped on?

 holy SH#T man! well i am sure you can find other ways to get a girl

LOL.  I suppose I did.  I'm married, so something I did must have impressed her.  It certainly wasn't can crushing.

nice at least you did not have to totally rely on can crushing skills to get a wife eh?

No, she kinda rolls her eyes when I do that.

 lol not diggin your macho power huh

Yeah, it's not as impressive when you're not a college student.

 lol so true  hey i wanted to ask you who is that for your avatar i think i remember it from an old cartoon i used to watch forever ago

 I thought I new him from somewhere

I'm saying ask the depot.  Some want it pre-crushed, and some don't.  Usually it all boils down to whether or not you have a return for deposit program.

Not here.  All recyclables just get tossed in a blue box and are picked up on garbage day.  Empty beer and wine bottles can be returned to the liquor store for a refund.

I have been into a beer distribution plant,( in Canada) and they are required by law to accept returned beer cans from battle depots. They all come in the large fabric bags and are weighed to confirm the contents. Then they are crushed into blocks called biscuits and shipped to the smelter for a new life.

  I think that these got driven in a truck to another state for more $.


8 years ago

WOW!  I never would have thought all that.   You guys are great and you make it most difficult to select a best answer with all the additional info that gets tossed in.....................THANK YOU ALL

 nacho is right i used to recycle cans and the yard i went to did the same thing the yard i went to  also did not take crumpled aluminum sheets because the rock prob


8 years ago

They're probably being sent to an aluminum recycling plant.  There they'll be shredded, washed, and melted down into aluminum blocks to be used again.

Sometimes trucking costs are less than buying a machine to compress them to use fewer trips.

It's true, at least in the short term.  Sadly, this is how many businesses operate:  always in the short term.