In the traditional sense, it is not possible to recycle a stainless steel water bottle with your local trash service.
But there are options available for scrap metal recycling, repurposing or donating a stainless steel water bottle.
In this article, you’ll find out why you can’t recycle a stainless steel water bottle with standard recycling services, plus other environmentally-friendly tips for proper recycling or repurposing.
When It’s Time to Recycle a Stainless Steel Water Bottle
When someone purchases a stainless steel water bottle, they are making an environmentally-friendly choice.
Having a reusable water bottle keeps plastic consumption down and is better for your overall health.
Did you know stainless steel bottles can last for up to 12 years? But after some time, a lot of use and one too many trips, some steel water bottles can deteriorate or begin to leak.
If you simply cannot use a stainless steel water bottle anymore, what are the options for getting rid of or disposing of a water bottle made from stainless steel?
What Type of Metal is Your Bottle Made From?
Before you decide what should be done with your old water bottle, it’s a good idea to learn exactly what type of metal it is made from.
This will determine if it can be recycled or not.
There are two types of metal:
To figure out which one your water bottle is, all you need is a magnet! Magnets are attracted to ferrous metals, while non-ferrous metals do not attract magnets.
If your water bottle does not attract a magnet, it is non-ferrous and probably made from aluminum.
If you find out your bottle is aluminum, it can actually be recycled with your local, curbside recycling program.
That’s great news!
If a magnet attaches to your water bottle, it means your bottle is ferrous – it also means the bottle is, indeed, stainless steel.
Can You Recycle Stainless Steel Water Bottle at a Scrap Metal Recycling Center?
Unfortunately, standard trash and recycling services are not able to accept stainless steel at this time.
The machinery that crushes the materials in these facilities cannot compact stainless steel; it is too rigid and strong for the equipment in these operations.
A stainless steel water bottle can definitely be recycled with a specialized facility though! These scrap metal recycling facilities have the proper equipment that can crush, shred and dispose of stainless steel.
For this reason, steel recycling should only be done by companies that specialize in processing different materials.
These facilities deal with a lot of other metals as well, types of metal that a traditional recycling center will not take.
Other common metals that a metal recycling center may take:
Simply perform a local search for metal recycling and you will find what’s available in your area.
There is also an app that can help you locate your local options called iScrap.
Once scrap metal is donated it goes through a process of collection, sorting, processing, melting, purification, and solidifying.
Once this process is complete, the recycled metal can be reused for whatever purpose needed.
It should be noted that one stainless steel water bottle will not be enough weight to warrant any payment from the business you are recycling with.
Most scrap metal companies will have rates per pound, depending on the type of metal.
A small water bottle may not amount too much in payment, but these facilities will take care of the recycling part of the job to ensure it is properly disposed of.
How to Repurpose a Stainless Steel Water Bottle
If you’re unable to find a recycling location for your water bottle, and you really don’t want to see it end up in the trash, there are some interesting ways to use a water bottle that may be at the end of its intended use.
It’s possible to cut the bottle with proper tools, but it may be easier to keep it intact.
After all, stainless steel is sturdy and durable. Below are a few ideas on new uses for an otherwise retired water bottle:
- Fresh-cut flower vase
- Dry food container
- Water bottle for animals
- Rolling pin
- Change jar
- Coffee container
- Measure liquids
These are just a few creative ideas that would really add some more life to the water bottle and extend the use into your home and kitchen and it never hurts to get creative and think outside the box!
Donate a Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Lastly, a final way to keep stainless steel out of the landfill is to donate the bottle to a local organization or thrift store.
When the hottest days of summer are upon us, it’s important to stay hydrated.
Unfortunately, there are people experiencing homelessness who cannot afford something as simple as a water bottle during hotter months. This is a small thing that we may otherwise take for granted.
It’s easy to find an organization in your area that can make good use of donated stainless steel water bottles.
There are outreach programs that take a variety of previously-owned and gently-used items.
These groups are the most informed on which communities will need which items most.
Whether you choose to recycle, repurpose or donate your used stainless steel water bottle, any of these options are ideal for making an environmentally-friendly choice.
In the end, it is possible to recycle your used water bottle, and if you don’t have access to specialized facilities, you can always repurpose or donate the item for a good cause.