Pop Can: From Recycling Bin to Shelf in 60 Days

On average it takes about 60 days to completely recycle a beverage can, refill it and get back on the shelves, that’s a pretty impressive stat but when you consider that making new cans from recycled aluminum uses 95 percent less energy, it becomes a no-brainer.

There is a 5 step process to aluminum can recycling and it starts with you – and also Island Return It recycling depots.

Step 1

Sorting and Counting

Step 1 is where it all begins. When you bring in your empty pop cans for recycling the staff at Island Return It count your cans after they’ve been sorted into separate categories i.e. pop or beer.

Next we count the cans and refund you the appropriate amount of money according to how many you have returned.

Step 2


When aluminum cans arrive at the processing facility they get baled. A bale of cans can consist of as many as 1,154 cans to 2,304 cans or more. Now they are ready to be shredded into small sizes, about the size of a walnut.

Step 3

De-Coating or De-Lacquering.

Cans are blasted with hot air to remove the paints, lacquers and other materials.

Step 4


Now for the fun part! The cleaned shreds of aluminum are now heated to about 1,400 degrees to produce the molten metals required for the next step.

Step 5


Now we have a vat of molten aluminum so we need to make it into a sellable commodity. To this the melted aluminum is poured into casts to create solid bars called ingots. Then the ingots get flattened and rolled out into sheet of aluminum for manufacturers to use.

Aluminum is a durable and sustainable metal: It was discovered in the 1820s and impressively; Two-thirds of the aluminum ever produced is still in use today! Next time you pick up an aluminum can pause a moment to appreciate that what you are holding is very likely much older than you or the beverage it contains.

Please remember to recycle all your bottles and cans because what we do today matters. At Island Return It, recycling isn’t just a business, it’s a lifestyle and so we will happily accept products ranging from bottles and cans to electronics, light bulbs, batteries and power tools – plus much, much more. For a full list of products you can recycle visit our website at www.islandreturnit.com