GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD)- In an average day, you will likely come in contact with many different types of metal products – everything from pop cans to canned food containers – but how can we do our part to make sure we’re recycling these products properly? Rachael visited the Kent County Recycling and Education Center to find about a new effort by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. It is aimed at educating and encouraging people to recycle and recycle properly. The campaign is designed to better inform Michiganders what can – and cannot – be recycled, as well as to increase the amount of material recycled statewide.

What are the key things to know when recycling metals?

  • Metal food cans, pans, pots, empty aerosol cans, aluminum foil, other clean metals such as license plates.
  • All aluminum, steel and tin materials should be clean before recycling
  • It is OK to leave labels on metal containers
  • Empty aerosol cans are generally recyclable curbside, as long as they didn’t contain something hazardous such as paint or chemicals.

However certain types of metal products are not accepted curbside in most places but often can be recycled at a drop-off location or special recycling event. Those products include: Scrap metal, Kitchen pots and pans, Wire hangers, which jam recycling facility machines, construction materials (e.g., screws, nails, etc.) that are too small and fall through the recycling machines, medical sharps like needles and syringes – they’re dangerous to recycling facility workers

So not all materials can be recycled, but that doesn’t mean that they have to go in the trash. Kent County Recycling & Education Center hosts “Imagine Craft Mondays” every Monday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. here at the center.  This program gives them the opportunity to teach kids about the importance of recycling, but also gives them the chance to turn trash into crafts.

Recycling & Education Center
977 Wealthy SW
Grand Rapids