Can You Recycle A Stainless Steel Water Bottle? (It Depends!)

Can You Recycle A Stainless Steel Water Bottle?

Reusable water bottles are a simple way to cut back on the presence of plastics in your life. Buying a single reusable bottle and using your tap water could stop over 1,000 plastic bottles from littering the ocean. To be even more environmentally friendly, try stainless steel water bottles. These have a longer usability life and are less likely to have harmful BPA’s.

Eventually, a stainless steel bottle will reach the end of its usable life. Your water bottle will get dings from being accidentally dropped or knocked over. Perhaps you’ll lose the cap, and you won’t be able to transport it in your bags anymore.

Only specific facilities can recycle Goldfish crackers packaged in boxes or milk carton-like containers. Goldfish cracker packages are made from different paper layers glued together. Most city recycling centers can’t break down and reuse the glued material. Check with your local recycling program first, but most likely you’ll need to throw the carton in the garbage bin.

Why Can’t Stainless Steel Bottles Go Curbside?

While it may be tempting to chuck a stainless steel water bottle into your recycling bin, don’t. Traditional curbside recycling programs cannot accept these kinds of water bottles.

Traditional recyclers have to break down and bundle the recyclables. This process makes reusable metals easier to measure for sale, transport, and melting at a manufacturer’s.

The equipment at the local recycling facilities cannot crush a stainless steel water bottle. When a steel water bottle enters the system, it could damage the MRF’s equipment. If you send the bottle here, it will be sorted out and thrown away.

What Stainless Steel Is Made From

Reusable metal water bottles are commonly made from stainless steel. However, what may appear to be a stainless steel water bottle may not actually be steel. Metal bottles are typically made from two different kinds of metals. If you’re not sure if yours is stainless steel or not, here’s a quick test.

Grab a magnet. If your magnet sticks to your water bottle, it’s most likely a ferrous metal like stainless steel. If not, it’s most likely to be non-ferrous metal, like aluminum.

Steps To Recycle Bottle

Determine If It Is Stainless Steel

First, use the magnet test to verify that your metal water bottle is a ferrous metal. If the magnet is attracted to the bottle, it is ferrous.

Find a Scrap Metal Yard

The metal water bottle will need to go to a scrap metal yard because they have the equipment to crush and process the metal. The iScrap App can help locate a metal yard near you.

Scrap metal yards typically pay for scrap material by the ton. All you’ll get for your recyclable metal water bottle is a few cents. If you’re looking to increase your returns, consider gathering more scrap metal bottles. You could run a neighborhood scrap metal drive to help others recycle their metal water bottles. 

Ask Recycling Requirements

Most scrap metal yards will accept loose cans and other assorted materials. Some facilities may require you separate and bundle if you have large amounts of steel and aluminum. Other companies will only accept specific metals.

Make sure you tell the company representative exactly what you have when you call them.

Drop Off For Recycling

Stop by the scrap metal yard with your metal water bottles and deposit them into the appropriate bins. Your water bottle is now on its way to being recycled and reused.

Related Questions

What are the benefits of a stainless steel water bottle?

Americans consume around 50 billion plastic bottles of water in one year. Producing bottled water requires about 1,000 times the energy of tap water. Stainless steel bottles reduce your plastic use and are non-reactive substances. This means they don’t release toxins into your food when you store them inside the container.

How can I reuse a stainless steel bottle?

Consider repurposing your stainless steel bottle once it gets near the end of its usable life. Your bottle can become a thermos for warm foods or a dry goods storage container, such as cereals or rice. Use it to carry water for your pets or as a watering container for plants. Turn into a flower vase for the table, or store small gear like matches when camping.

Does a stainless steel water bottle grow bacteria?

Stainless steel is a strong material that is naturally antibacterial. A wide-mouth water bottle is easier to clean as bacteria can’t hide inside the bevels and crevices.

Recycling Your Stainless Steel Bottle

The good news is stainless steel water bottles can be used for up to 12 years. That makes them more economical and environmentally beneficial than a reusable plastic water bottle.

Besides holding liquids, you can reuse your stainless items as storage containers similar to Tupperware or apply them for other uses around the home.

However, a stainless steel water bottle will reach the end of its usable life. Hopefully, you have a better idea about how to repurpose or recycle your stainless steel water bottle when it’s time to dispose of it.

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