Can You Recycle Aluminum Siding?

We are in the middle of remodeling a tiny rental home, a once adorable little bungalow that fell victim to the aluminum siding craze of the early 1960s. The home was totally wrapped in aluminum, from the soffits to the fascia, the trim pieces and the siding itself.

Aluminum siding was the wonder material of the late 1950s and up into the early 1970s. During that time, it was used primarily in remodeling applications, and was regarded as a low cost way of giving an old house a new look. It was durable, easy to install, and virtually maintenance free which no doubt appealed to homeowners and landlords tired of scraping and painting their homes every 10 or 15 years. That old style of aluminum siding was eventually discovered to be noisy, prone to dents and scratches, and lacked the ability to be used for detail work which resulted in a rather sterile curbside appearance.

For property owners like us who are ready to rip off that dreadful looking vintage siding and replace it with something a little more attractive, the question is whether or not all that aluminum siding can be recycled and if it is worth the effort.

What kind of aluminum siding can be recycled?

Aluminum siding material falls into two basic descriptive categories, that of insulated and non insulated. Non insulated siding was more commonly used in the 1960s and early 1970s and is characterized on the underside with an unpainted metallic finish. Insulated aluminum siding is a newer product and has a spray on foam attached to the back of the panel. Both types of siding can be recycled, even if they have been painted.

It is worth the time and money?

Just on principal, recycling is always worth it. Recycling keeps valuable resources out of the landfill, saves energy, and reduces pollution.

In terms of money, clean uninsulated aluminum siding is highly prized by recycling centers and typically pays out at a rate of 40-60Ã?¢ per pound depending on where you live. For a small 900 SF bungalow such as ours, the value of the recycled aluminum was $350. For the three hours it took two of us to sort the aluminum, stack it on the pickup truck, and drive it to the recycling center, it was definitely worth the effort. Had the aluminum siding been insulated or peppered with attached nails, it would have been classified as “dirty” aluminum with a redemption rate of 10Ã?¢ a pound, or $70.

If you are in the process of remodeling an older home that has been trimmed out with aluminum siding, it’s worth the time and effort to start a recycling pile for all that wonderful siding. Not only will you be diverting valuable aluminum away from the landfill, but you’ll put a nice chunk of change in your pocket as well.

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