banner image
Waste and recycling on the Gold Coast

Information about waste and recycling services on the Gold Coast is available in one central location.

National Relay Service for the hearing impaired Language translation services

Recycling steel and aluminium

Find out more about recycling aluminium and steel, including what you can and can't recycle in your recycling bin, by selecting from the drop-down headings below.

How are steel and aluminium made?

The raw material used to make aluminium is bauxite, a mineral from the ground. The bauxite is taken to a processing plant where it is refined into alumina, then on to another plant, where it is smelted into aluminium.

The raw materials used to make steel are refined iron ore and carbon. These materials are mined, refined and smelted to produce steel.

What steel and aluminium products can be recycled in your household recycling bin

The following items can be recycled in your household recycling bin:

  • all steel food cans, e.g. pet food tins, tinned vegetable cans
  • aerosol cans – empty of contents and plastic lids removed
  • aluminium drink cans, e.g. soft drink cans and beer cans
  • aluminium foil, e.g. clean pie tins/trays and aluminium foil.

What steel and aluminium products cannot be recycled in your household recycling bin?

The following items cannot be recycled in your household recycling bin:

  • scrap metals such as household appliances
  • metal cutlery
  • syringes
  • items made from any other metals (e.g. copper).

How are steel and aluminium recycled?

The following process is used to recycle steel and aluminium from your recycling bin:

  • From your recycling bin, the aluminium and steel cans are taken to the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) at Carrara to be separated from other recyclables.
  • Steel is magnetic and can be separated from the other recyclables with strong magnets. Aluminium is not magnetic so an “eddy current” is used to induce a magnetic effect in the cans so they can be separated out, too.
  • Once separated, the steel and aluminium recyclables are squashed into large bales and transported to processing plants where they are melted down and reprocessed into new steel and aluminium stock, ready to be made into new cans or other products.

What are the benefits of recycling steel and aluminium?

The benefits of recycling steel and aluminium include:

  • The energy used to make one aluminium can from raw materials is the same as making 20 cans from recycled aluminium.
  • The energy used to make one steel can from raw materials is the same as making four cans from recycled steel.
  • Recycling one kilogram of aluminium saves over 20 kilograms of greenhouse gases (CO2-e).
  • For every tonne of steel recycled 1131 kilograms of iron ore, 633 kilograms of coal and 54 kilograms of limestone are saved.

Related information