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Can you recycle Aluminium cases?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by BlueHeelerFl, Jan 7, 2020.

  1. BlueHeelerFl

    BlueHeelerFl Member

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    I just finished up removing a decent amount spent aluminum Blazer cases from my moon clips.

    Can they be dropped in my recycle bin without any issues?
     
  2. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    I don’t see why not. If the recycler can’t use the particular alloy the cases are made from then I guess they’ll trash the cases there.

    Stay safe.
     
  3. Lizard1911

    Lizard1911 Member

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    I took some excess and damaged brass casings in a few years ago.
    My scrap guy gave less for them, and they had to be separated from the rest.
    Said one piece of ammo will reject an entire load.
    Will they take aluminum? Sure.
    Maybe be sure it's not hidden, and kept separated.
     
  4. Meeks36

    Meeks36 Member

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    If taking them yourself I would pop the primer's out takes more time but you get more money.
     
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  5. bassjam

    bassjam Member

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    If you're taking them directly to a recycler for some cash in return, yes they'll take them.

    But if you're dropping them in a curbside recycle bin you're most likely wasting your time and the recycler's. I've toured one of the most technologically advanced recycle centers in the US, with a couple hours of class time and some Q&A (I'm a packaging engineer by trade, so it was for work). Modern recycle centers are highly automated and work more on form vs material. Small items like cartridge casings are so small they'll literally fall between the cracks and end up getting send to the landfill. Even if you bag them, the bag will get pulled off by operators and tossed in the trash. I suggest you call your local recycle center to be sure, but mine and many others will only take certain forms or recyclable material, regardless of if it's actually recyclable or not. Aluminum soda and beer cans are good, but aluminum foil and pie pans are not. PET soda bottles are good, but PET food clamshell containers are not. HDPE detergent bottles are good, but HDPE buckets are not. Stacks of newspapers and magazines are good, but wadded up Christmas wrapping paper is not. Steel food cans are good, but the steel frame handle from your lawnmower is not.
     
  6. mcb

    mcb Member

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    If your brave and they are boxer primed you can reload them. I reload a fair amount of Blaze Aluminum 45 ACP a few years ago cause everyone said it would not work. I could reload them twice before most of them split at the case mouth. The third reloading got the rest. Not sure I would try it with higher pressure 9mm or 40S&W but it was a fun experiment. YMMV and "don't try this at home kids..."
     
  7. Kp321

    Kp321 Member

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    I don't end up with many aluminum cases but when I do, I keep them for making action testing dummies. They are instantly recognizable as dummies since I never have live aluminum cased ammo around my shop.
     
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  8. AK103K

    AK103K Member

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    Ive done it with Federal, boxer primed aluminum cases in 9mm. Did it as a test just to see if it was viable and if it could be done. I loaded them the same as the brass cases I load, which are just below the max. They load the same as brass, and you dont have to do anything different.

    I quit on the 6th or 7th reload. I started out losing one or two cases the first couple of loadings, and then 3 to 5 cases each loading after that. Splits in the case necks were the issue.

    In a pinch, if they are all you have, they will work.
     
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  9. mcb

    mcb Member

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    I am impressed you got that many reload without them splitting. The most I got out of 45 ACP was three. About half of them were split by the second firing and the rest split went I pressed a third bullet in or fired them the third time. The smaller diameter of 9mm must offset the stress cause by the higher pressure. Good to know.
     
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  10. Jonesy814

    Jonesy814 Member

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    I too reloaded some aluminum cases. I did 45acp since it is a lower pressure round. Only reloaded them once and only did 25 or so, to see how it worked out. I usually only shoot aluminum cased ammo when I can't recover brass
     
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  11. 748

    748 Member

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    If you smashed them with a hammer first that might make them a little less scarry to the recycling people.
     
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  12. jamesinalaska

    jamesinalaska Member

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    When the OP asked about "recycling" aluminum cases I thought he was asking about reloading.

    I am with MCB on this. We have experimented and found the aluminum cases are reloadable once reliably, and after that begin to reliably fail.

    As far as picking up aluminum cases for money at the recycle center, Jeez, why bother? Surely there are better ways you could spend your Saturdays. I mean you only have so many of those left.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
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  13. BlueHeelerFl

    BlueHeelerFl Member

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    I was actually asking about tossing then in my curbside recycling vs Having them end up in a landfill.

    I will hopefully start reloading this year, so maybe I'll hang onto them
     
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  14. Jonesy814

    Jonesy814 Member

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    How often you can reload them will vary, likely by charge weight. I loaded midrange 45cal. This winter I am going to load a few aluminum lower end loads for in my S&W model 625. Don't have to worry about enough power to run the slide with it. Then I'll see if I can get 3 or 4 loads out of each
     
  15. evan price

    evan price Member

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    While the cases are aluminum the primers are brass. Mixed metal is worth less than either. I recycle lots of cases, the scrappers just dump the aluminum cases into the shred steel.
     
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  16. AK103K

    AK103K Member

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    Im not sure why there seems to be such a difference in the number of loads between the 45's and 9mm. Maybe is just as simple as a run of cases. Or maybe the 45s, since they are bigger, and have less pressure, arent as heavy/strong. Seems kind of weird there would be a difference.

    I only have experience doing it with that one lot of Federal 9mm aluminum cases. I havent tried it with the 45 aluminum as I havent seen any laying around to try. If I do, I will, just to see.
     
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  17. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    Most recycler in Texas, in my experience, will not touch them.
    Some of that is their insurance liability.
    Some of that is that the AL used is not a very good alloy for recycling (unlike beverage cans). And, metalurgically, the primer "contaminates" the low-quality AL case.

    But, generally, if you decapped and bagged them, you'd probably get less for them than the gas used to drive them to the recycler.
     
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  18. Hillbillyz

    Hillbillyz Member

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    I reload them and use them in the winter. When they get chucked into the nearest snowbank I don't worry about losing good brass.
     
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  19. Catpop

    Catpop Member

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    I too reload both steel and aluminum. Aluminum has about 20% split on first firing and % increases with subsequent reloadings. Split cases get thrown in appropriate recycle cans, carried to recycle yard and get paid for what they are.
    I too use them in places I can’t recover my cases!
    I never did find out what the “NR” stamped on the base meant! Anyone have a clue?
     
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  20. AK103K

    AK103K Member

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    I always figured it meant "Not Reloadable".

    So much for that. :)
     
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  21. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Member

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    I used to do recycling as a way to get by in Los Angeles when I was between jobs.
    (Most lucrative job that I've ever had, but the 20 hour workdays will kill you.)

    None of the recyclers would take aluminum cases - most wouldn't take brass cases.
    If I wound up with a bunch of stuff like aluminum cases I would put them in stuff like old refrigerators or stoves and sell them as "tin", which went for $32.00 per ton.

    Same price as newsprint and cardboard.

    Hardly worth picking up, except that the indoor ranges would give me the stuff by the barrel full rather than pay to have it hauled away.

    When I was in college, I tried smelting some aluminum cases as part of an art project. The stuff didn't pour well until I added a bunch of beer cans.
    The results were still not as good as pure aluminum cans.
    Just an odd alloy, I guess.
     
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  22. 792mauser

    792mauser Member

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    Worked with the recycling people at the school that I used to work for.
    They are VERY picky about what they recycle. It ain't worth it. They'll probably just trash it.

    I got maybe 4 loadings max outta the aluminum cases I saved. Just to see if I could. And I could.
    Started with about 200, then ~130, then ~75, then 20ish. The mouth would crack and then trash time.

    I thought that maybe annealing would help.... NOPE. I think it may have made it worse.
     
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  23. Catpop

    Catpop Member

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    792mauser,
    You tried to heat treat aluminum cases to extend case life!!!
    Wow and I thought I was tight!!!!
    You’re the guy!!!!!!
     
  24. 748

    748 Member

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    So it would seem the most environmentally friendly life cycle for an aluminum case that is almost unrecyclable anyways, but can be reloaded once or twice is just reload it 1x or 2x. Shoot off the rounds then trash the shells after the 2nd reloading.
     
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