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How to Recycle Old Keys

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Most people have useless old keys dangling on key chains or lying around the house. Instead of just throwing them in the trash to end up in a landfill forever, it is better to recycle them.

Recycle old keys that you have on your key chain or in your drawers.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, America recycled 35 percent of the metal that was used in 2008. In terms of greenhouse effects, this 71 billion tons is the equivalent of removing 4.5 million automobiles from the road. This demonstrable impact should be an adequate incentive to learn how to recycle old keys.

    Most recycle centers accept keys with other recyclables.
  1. Place old keys with other metal items in a separate container, and recycle as you would other recyclable items. Most recycle centers will accept them, and this is an easy way to avoid throwing them in the trash, especially if there are only a few of them.

  2. You can sell a large amount of keys as scrap metal.
  3. Save your keys and other similar recyclables until you have enough to sell as scrap metal. There are businesses in most areas that purchase metals to be melted down and used in manufacturing other products. The weight of the metal and the current market rate will determine the amount of money that you receive. It is likely to be a modest amount.

  4. Recycle old keys by donating them to charity. Place them in a public receptacle provided by a local charity drive. If there is not one available, place the keys in an envelope or box and mail them to the correct address of an organization that accepts donations of keys.

  5. These organizations accumulate sizable amounts of marketable scrap metal through small, individual donations of keys. The money received for the keys is allocated for funding of various charitable programs.

  6. Key for Hope is one organization that collects keys to provide food, shelter and clothing to the less fortunate. They are often set up in public places around Massachusetts, or you can contact them through the website listed in the resources section. Keys for Kindness is a smaller charity effort that collects keys to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis research. Their website is also listed in the resources section.

  7. Tip

    Remove plastic or stickers from the keys before recycling.


    The sharp edges of the keys can tear a mailing envelope. Wrap with paper or plastic before mailing.