Can I Recycle License Plates

The Environmental Benefits of Recycling License Plates

Are you changing the plates on your vehicle? Want to know whether they can be recycled? Well, read on. We will tell you absolutely everything that you need to know!

License plates are recyclable. They’re almost all made of aluminum, one of the most accessible materials to recycle. Just about every recycling center should be able to handle them. You can also take them to your local DMV office, and they will recycle them as well.

You absolutely can!

License plates tend to be made from aluminum, one of the most recyclable products. It is also one of those products that can be recycled almost constantly. It is never going to ‘wear down’ each time it has been recycled, so you can’t find that much better than this product if you want to help the environment.

Where Can You Recycle License Plates?

Because license plates are so easy to recycle, nearly every recycling center will allow you to take them there. If a recycling place enables you to recycle aluminum, then that is where you need to be.

That being said, this is not the only place to take your old license plates. You may be surprised that you can head to your local DMV, hand them the license plate, and they will recycle it for you.

Recycling License Plates

Alternatively, some towns and cities will have a scheme where you can mail the license plate to the DMV. It certainly beats queuing there for hours and hours on end.

Finally, you could also take the license plate to a scrap metal dealer. However, because the license plate will be entirely ‘customized,’ they may not readily accept it. This should only be an option if nowhere else in your area deals with aluminum. However, the chances of you having scrap metal dealers and no other way to recycle aluminum are ridiculously small.

How Do You Prepare License Plates for Recycling?

Nope. Not really. It doesn’t matter if there is paint and the like on the license plate; this will be removed during the recycling process.

The one thing that you probably will want to do is give the license plate a good clean. While the recycling center will probably accept dirty license plates, you probably don’t want to provide them with more work than they need to do.

So, wash the license plate with warm, soapy water, and you should be fine. It doesn’t have to be pristine; it shouldn’t be brimming with filth. The back of the license plate will probably need the heaviest work.

It doesn’t matter if there are dents and scratches on the license plate. They are going to be recycled, and this means that they will be melted down. They probably won’t ever be used as license plates again.

How Are License Plates Recycled?

As we said, license plates are the most straightforward items to recycle. They are infinitely recyclable. There is a strong chance that the license plate you own now may have been some other aluminum product earlier in its life.

Let’s run you through the recycling process. That way, you will have some idea about what it entails.

When you take the license plate to the recycling center, you will probably add it to the mixed metals bin. The license plate will likely sit here for a long time—many months. When the recycling center has filled that bin up, it will start separating the metals.

There is a good chance that this will be a manual job. Of course, your license plate will end up with the rest of the aluminum. This often means it will be alongside many old soda cans.

The next part of the process will begin if there is enough aluminum to make it cost-effective to recycle. The recycling team will throw all of the aluminum into a big grinder. In the grinder, all of the metal will be broken down into small pieces.

These pieces must be of a roughly even size. You do not want some parts to be larger than others because it can make the next step far more resource-intensive, and the whole idea of recycling is to cut down on energy use, right?

In the next stage, all of the aluminum will be melted down. Chemicals will then be added to the mixture to help purify it. This is when all that paint should hopefully start to come away. That will be filled out and disposed of properly.

The aluminum will then be set into molds. These will often be blocks. Once the aluminum from the license plate has set, it will be shipped off to whichever companies need aluminum, which is a lot of them!

Can You Put Old License Plates In The Trash?

You can. However, there is no need. Recycling old license plates is so easy that you shouldn’t add them to landfills. It makes no sense to us.

Remember, when you add a license plate to a landfill, it will be there for centuries. Aluminum is not biodegradable, which means it will always take up space, which is never good!

It is important to note that some towns and cities may even prohibit you from putting metal, including aluminum, into the trash. You will probably need to look into this to make sure.


License plates are very recyclable products. Not only are they helpful when recycled, but they are also easy to start the recycling process.

No matter where you live, we are certain that a place in your license plates is recyclable and can be easily taken to most recycling centers, local DMV offices, or even mailed to the DMV in some towns and cities. The process of recycling license plates involves adding them to a mixed metals bin, separating them from other metals, grinding them down to an exact size, and melting them down with added chemicals to purify the mixture.

It is important to note that no preparation is necessary for recycling license plates, as any paint or dirt will be removed during the process. Recycling license plates are a simple and effective way to help the environment and conserve resources. The local area will accept license plates. You have no excuses!

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