Cans, foil and cookware are recyclable aluminum items. Beverage cans are the primary aluminum cans recycled, and recyclable cookware consists primarily of disposable aluminum baking and cooking vessels. Less common aluminum items that can be recycled are window frames, wire, tubing and electronics.
Aluminum cans are the most commonly recycled item, with approximately 10,000 locations across the United States that purchase them. All together, aluminum can recycling is a $1 billion per year industry. Even with those numbers, an estimated $1 billion worth of aluminum cans are thrown away yearly in the United States. Foil and aluminum cookware, on the other hand, are recycled at a much lower rate, with 460,000 tons of aluminum foil alone thrown away in the U.S. in 2010.
Recycling aluminum became popular in the United States during World War II, when citizens recycled as part of the war effort. After the war, recycling continued and remains popular as of 2015. Of all aluminum produced in the United States since World War II, approximately 75 percent is still in circulation. This popularity can be attributed to the fact that recycling businesses have given out an average of over 800 million dollars per year for cans alone.