Aluminium cans vs. steel cans
How are they different?

Can can can, at first glance, all cans might look the same…

But actually, cans that look alike might be made from different metals, and mixing them up could lower the resale value a lot. It also means wasting time sorting them again before recycling.

In this article, we’ll explain the similarities and differences between aluminium and steel cans for everyone to understand.

In the manufacturing process, aluminium cans have just 2 parts: the can body and the lid. The process starts by shaping the can from an aluminium sheet into a round shape and then forming it into a cup shape. Next, the can is stretched to the desired height, and a dome is formed at the bottom to strengthen the can. The lid is sealed on after the beverage is filled.

Steel cans, on the other hand, have 3 parts: the can body, the top lid, and the bottom lid. The production process is different from aluminium cans as it starts with rolling a steel sheet into a cylinder shape, then the sides are seamed to keep the shape. The bottom and top lids are sealed after filling the can with food or drinks.

Since aluminium and steel cans are made from different metals, it’s essential to separate them before recycling.

As for the resale value, aluminium cans fetch a higher price, around 25-40 baht per kilogram, while steel cans go for 2-8 baht per kilogram.

Here’s a simple rundown on how to tell aluminium cans apart from steel cans:

  • Aluminium cans have a bottom that curves inward, while steel cans have a flat, even bottom.
  • Aluminium cans consist of 2 parts without any seams, while steel cans have 3 parts and you can see a seam along the side.
  • Aluminium cans are usually used for drinks, while steel cans are often used for food, though you might find some drinks in them too.
  • You can use a magnet to separate them since it’ll pick up steel cans but not aluminium cans.

When it comes to collecting aluminium and steel cans for recycling, the steps are pretty much the same:

  • Clean them and let them dry upside down.
  • Crush them to make them flatter or smaller, which saves storage space and makes the crushing process easier when it’s time to recycle.
  • Gather them up to sell or drop off at different recycling points (but remember to sell or dispose of aluminium and steel cans separately).

Even though aluminium and steel cans are made from different metals and have different manufacturing processes, what’s really important is how we handle these cans after we’re done with them. Clean them properly and then sort them by type before recycling.