In the United States, I know that paper and plastic are often not recyclable if they are greasy.

Can I recycle metal that has vegetable grease on it surface? I'm thinking of canisters that once contained nuts.

  • 1
    Metal can be cleaned easily, it most likely is also melted down when being recycled - so some grease should be no hassle.
    – Erik
    Jan 10, 2020 at 8:51
  • greasy paper should be able to be composted?
    – y chung
    Jan 13, 2020 at 6:30
  • thanks y chung! I will look into that more.
    – capet
    Jan 14, 2020 at 14:56

3 Answers 3


Oh, that's really not a problem.

Recycling metal involves pre-processing. They are concerned with contaminants like paint and plating getting into the batch. What they use to remove paint and galvanization will certainly remove grease.

  • I got two great answers since I last checked! Just picked the first one as the "official answer." Thanks!
    – capet
    Jan 14, 2020 at 14:55

Scrap metals are not cleaned, they are melted. For steel; Zn, Sn, Pb, and others vaporize or oxidize. The most problematic is Zn as the oxide in the slag can deteriorate the refractory. Aluminum is similar except scrap aluminum containing Cu and Si will be segregated as much as possible, used for certain alloys. Copper scrap, being more valuable is separated according to the alloy to be produced. Oil, grease and paint are non-factors.

  • I got two great answers since I last checked! Just picked the first one as the "official answer." Thanks!
    – capet
    Jan 14, 2020 at 14:55
  • My answer should be more or less the opposite of the first; I guess I need to wok on communication skills Jan 15, 2020 at 16:34
  • Oh sorry, I thought you are both saying that grease doesn't matter. Are you saying that oil/grease/paint are non-factors only for copper?
    – capet
    Jan 15, 2020 at 18:39
  • They do not matter and they are not removed. Although scrap charge is usually preheated to be certain it contains no water and for efficiency. This preheat can be high enough to burn off paint ,oil and grease. Jan 15, 2020 at 22:27
  • okay, so both of you are saying it doesn't matter but for different reasons?
    – capet
    Jan 17, 2020 at 1:49

Scrap yards do not accept PCBs, TVs, anything made by a railroad company, sewer covers, or equipment containing Freon. Basically other than that: weigh in, dump it, weigh out, and get paid.

Oil or grease? If you dug up some soil at a scrap yard you could make brownies.... They have water trucks to keep the dust down, but everything there is just so yucky that it doesn't really mater.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.