Can You Recycle Baking Trays? (Don’t Make These Mistakes)

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Jean Richardson

Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

You can recycle anything in today’s world: metal, glass, food, paper, even old appliances. However, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to recycling baking trays. 

The types of metal are a significant factor in determining how to reuse the metal. Deciding if you can recycle your baking trays relies on several factors. Keep reading to find out what those are!

Can You Recycle Baking Trays?

There are two types of aluminum baking trays, the ones that are sold for single use and the thicker ones sold for long-term survival. 

The latter is recyclable but not in the traditional sense of going down to your local recycling center. 

Instead, you must find a place in your area that accepts these items or bulk metal scraps. 

Unfortunately, not all local areas will take these types of metals, so you may have to do some searching to find your closest recycling center. 

However, the single-use aluminum baking trays are fully recyclable and can even be tossed in the recycle bin that goes in front of your house.

It will usually have a triangle with the number forty-one in it and the letters “ALU” stamped on the tray somewhere. 

However, some manufacturers use a different symbol; a circle with the letters “ALU” in the middle of the ring. 

Furthermore, baking pans sold in today’s market are either made from ferrous or nonferrous metals. 

Additionally, iron in the tray is the primary factor determining whether a type of metal is easily recyclable or must be turned into scrap metal first. 

Furthermore, metal, such as hammers, nails, bakeware, and old gardening tools, will follow the same recycling protocols as your baking pans. 

Ferrous versus Non-Ferrous Metals

Trait Ferrous Non-Ferrous
Contains Iron Yes No
It can be Detected with a Magnet Yes Yes 
Includes Soft Metals No Yes
Includes Hard Metals Yes No
Resistance to Rust No Yes
Used in Wiring and electronics No Yes
Read More:  Can You Recycle Metal Water Bottles? (Your Full Guide)

Can You Recycle Glass Baking Trays?

Can You Recycle Glass Baking Trays?

The short answer is no; ceramic and Pyrex® cookware melts at a higher temperature than most glass that can be recycled at a recycling center. 

Instead, try to find a way to repurpose an old ceramic teapot or Pyrex® pan.  

Since ceramic and Pyrex® are made from glass, the other materials will corrupt the glass in the recycling center as it is melted down. 

However, you can reuse old ceramic bowls and Pyrex® Trays creatively around the home as arts and crafts. For example, you could take that old ceramic bowl and make a planter out of it. 

Likewise, a Pyrex® pan can be repurposed into a decorative arts and crafts tray capable of holding paints and brushes without the mess. 

Additionally, one of the most popular methods to repurpose the Pyrex® pan is to create a makeshift terrarium for any low-water plants you want to grow. 

These Pyrex® pans are great for creating a humid environment and keeping things heated up in the plant terrarium. 

You can also stack them atop each other or use them individually as a new home for any garden variety succulents. 

Kintsugi is the art of putting a broken ceramic piece back together with gold. The concept is a Japanese art form that acts as a metaphor for spiritual healing.

The craft is fun to do and can take several days to put together, but it is like a giant 3D puzzle. 

Furthermore, the gold brings out the “Flaws” in the ceramic piece and creates a “stronger piece” from the damage. 

How Can I Dispose of My Non-Recyclable Baking Pans? 

There is no limit to creativity in the home; some of the best baking pan crafts have the most ordinary uses. 

Read More:  Can You Recycle Greeting Cards? (Don't Make These Mistakes)

For example, putting some gems and craft stones in a pan and just setting by the front door will help keep dirty shoes outside and the foyer area of your home extra clean.  

Also, donating your old baking sheets is a great way to give back to your community.

Therefore, many places will take old bakeware happily and resell it to new patrons. 

Additionally, your local landfill will take ferrous metals that need to be recycled. You can always check to see if they take iron or steel. 

The landfill or business will determine if and how they handle the materials from you. 

However, you may have to remove any non-stick coatings before sending the pan to the recycling center.

 Instead of buying new pots and pans for camping, reusing those old cast iron cooking pans on an open fire can change the way you look at food. 

Additionally, using your old bakeware over a firepit works as a nice makeshift grill.

Here Are Some Fun Ideas for Repurposing Your Old Metal Baking Sheets:

  • Shoe Cleaner
  • Floor Saver
  • Decoration
  • Notepad holder
  • T.V. Tray
  • Craft Tray
  • Glitter Rolling Pan
  • Centerpiece for a picnic table
  • Spice rack
  • Seed germinator  

Are My Old Metal Baking Pans Biodegradable?

Metal is the most environmentally friendly element on the periodic table. 

Therefore, all Metal substances are recyclable and, depending on the type (ferrous or nonferrous), depends on how we recycle the material.

Nonferrous metals are resistant to rust and decay; they can also be repurposed quickly, which is why most cities have a plethora of recycling centers.  

However, Ferrous and nonferrous metals take a long time to break down, years even and must be fully melted to be reused.

Read More:  Can You Recycle Cellophane? (Don't Make These Mistakes)

Additionally, the metal does not degrade over time, so it is not “Bio”-degradable, but instead, it is the world’s most efficient recyclable material. 

Although the metal pans may not be biodegradable, they are still recyclable. 

Therefore, most city landfills and populated areas will have a disposal site and procedures for disposing of these unwanted materials.  

Moreover, some scrapyards may have specific rules regarding what they accept; some may require non-stick coatings to be removed; others may only take cast iron. 

Unfortunately, there is no single governing rule that states how municipalities handle recycling materials in their areas. 

Therefore, you would always want to check with your local businesses and municipalities for your local procedures in disposing of the unwanted cookware. 

To learn more, you can also read our posts on whether you can recycle nitrile gloves, whether you can recycle newspaper, junk mail, and catalogs, and whether you can recycle nails, screws, and bolts.


There are no universal rules on handling old pots and pans. Each municipality will have its governing authorities based on the material that is inside the pan. If you will not repurpose the baking pans or donate them, the next best thing is the city landfill. 

Furthermore, using an app to get rid of your unwanted cookware, such as Craigslist® or Teracycle®, can prove to be a valuable tool in getting rid of unwanted items. 


  • Jean Richardson

    Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

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