How to Reuse Metals at Home

It’s a good idea to look in your recycling bin and work out what kinds of metals you use at home.


Image of a flower in a can

Foil and trays – Wash and reuse all the aluminium foil, or use in arts and crafts.

Saucepans – Take care of the aluminium items you already own by washing them. Here is a Which? guide to how to get rid of burnt bits on your saucepans.

Cans – Why not upcycle old cans into plant pots, candles, pencil holders using a can opener to take of the lid.

Baking trays – Why not make smaller trays into bird feeders or plant pots, find more upcycling ideas here.


Image of upcycled bike

Household appliances (eg. stoves, dishwashers, washing machines) – If you cannot repair or recycle your appliances why not turn them into something new, like washing machine drum fire pit. 

Bikes – Find great new ways to upcycle bikes and bike parts here.

Kitchenware – Make sure you take care of items you already own.  Soak the iron pans in water and white vinegar for a few hours to get rid of rust.

Tools – If you are replacing your tools ensure that all working tools are reused by giving them away or advertising them on sites such as GumtreePreloved, Freegle and Freecycle.


Food can made into pencil holder

Utensils – For items such as knives why not purchase a sharpener to prolong the life. Or you could upcycle them to make coat hangers, or something completely different. 

Food cans – Old food cans can be washed and turned into pencil holders, candle holders, vases, bird feeders and more.

Water bottles – Used and damaged steel water bottles can be decorated and used as vases, rolling pins, storage containers, money boxes, pet water bottles and more.

Precious Metals

Image of coin jewellery

Coins – Why not try turning your old coins into some new jewellery. 

Mobile phones – Avoid upgrading your mobile every year, and try selling or donating old phones and technology. Find some more tips here. If not, you can always get creative with upcycling.

Jewellery and watches – Why not gift, donate or sell your old Gold, Silver or Platinum jewellery to prologue it’s life.

Rare Earth Metals

Image of smart phone

Computers – Upgrade and repair electricals before throwing them away or recycling. Recycle Your Electricals – Recycle Devon. Or why now check Pinterest for some upcycling ideas.

Cameras – Repair, donate or sell old cameras before recycling them. Check out this site if you are looking for upcycling options.

Cars – Sell and repair cars before discarding of them. Why not turn old car parts into something new?

How to Reuse Metals at School

It might be a good idea to rethink the school’s metal resource use – many schools will be doing this already, as saving resources usually saves money! Audit the types of metals you use and how much you buy each week. Are there ways to reduce the metal resource use in school?

  • Repair, recycle or donate old computers, laptops, iPads, photocopiers and other electronic devices Recycle Your Electricals – Recycle Devon
  • Discuss with kitchen staff members about types of metal waste produced and how we can work to reduce or reuse them.
    This could include reusing aluminium foil, choosing larger cans of food rather than smaller ones, or even growing your own vegetables to reduce packaging overall.