Can You Recycle Nails, Screws, And Bolts?

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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.

It probably seems as if just about everything in your house is held together by nails, screws, and bolts. Therefore, when it comes time to get rid of them, it would be helpful to know if you can recycle them. 

Furthermore, since they are mostly made of metal, you might think that you can just throw them in the recycle bin. However, before you do, there are some things to take into consideration. So continue reading for more information!

Can You Recycle Nails, Screws, And Bolts?

Although it is not easy to recycle old nails, screws, and bolts, it is possible. Even if not all are recyclable there are multiple ways that these materials can be reused, and upcycled into something else. For example, they may be used in subsequent building projects, or home repair centers can potentially make use of them.

Continue reading to learn what you can do with the old nails, screws, and bolts you may have around the house!

How To Dispose Of Nails, Screws, And Bolts?

Since your used nails, screws, or bolts cannot be easily recycled, it is helpful to know your other options. 

Luckily, in many cases, these types of building materials can be used over and over again. 

Interestingly, made of galvanized steel or metal, you would be surprised to know just how resilient the average nail, screw, or bolt is. 

Furthermore, because these items are so useful, it is quite likely that you can find another use for them. 

So, if you end up with a pile of old nails, screws, and bolts, here are a few places to consider contacting to see if they have use for them:

  • Talk to friends and family members – These types of building materials can really take a chunk out of a remodeling or construction budget. One of your friends or someone in your family might have a project they are working on and would welcome the opportunity to have your old nails, screws, and bolts to reuse. 
  • List them on a bartering site – While there may not necessarily be a market to sell you used nails, screws, and bolts, you may find someone willing to trade something for them. Find something that you need to give the other person something that they need. This is a form of recycling that can be mutually beneficial to both parties. 
  • Contact some private building companies – There may be some private building companies in the area that can use used nails, screws, and bolts. If so, they would be more than happy to take them off your hands. You will be doing the environment a service while also helping a company build up its own inventory of building materials. 
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These are just a few of the ways that you can safely dispose of your old nails, screws, and bolts.

Furthermore, if you really can’t find anybody to give them to and you need to get rid of them, only then should you throw them out with the trash. 

However, the advice contained in this post should hopefully help you avoid doing that. 

What Materials Are Nails, Screws, And Bolts Made Of?

It is a bit difficult to pinpoint exactly what nails, screws, and bolts are made of. 

This is because there are so many varieties of these materials used in the construction industry today. 

Although, when it comes to nails, steel is the most common material used. However, nails can also be made from:

  • Stainless steel
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Aluminum
  • Bronze 

Additionally, when it comes to screws and bolts, you will find that many of them are made of aluminum. 

Furthermore, they can also be made of brass, a variety of synthetic non-metals, steel, and stainless steel. 

Are Nails, Screws, And Bolts Biodegradable?

Are Nails, Screws, And Bolts Biodegradable?

Since they tend to be made of steel or other forms of metal, these types of building materials are not biodegradable. 

This is because they are simply not comprised of any material that could be a source for microorganisms to break down and eventually return to the earth. 

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Therefore, when you discard old nails, screws, and bolts, they will remain on the earth for quite a long time. 

Furthermore, this is not a sustainable practice, so it is important to consider other uses for your old building materials.

How To Reuse And Upcycle Nails, Screws, And Bolts?

There are many ways that you can reuse nails, screws, and bolts.  

Additionally, even if they are too old, bent, or corroded to be of much use in a construction project, there are other things that you can use them for. 

Furthermore, here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Do some art – Old nails and screws can turn into magnificent colors as they age. While you might not be able to use them again for their intended purpose, you can turn them into some great artwork. You just need to get creative and figure out where they should be placed in your next masterpiece. Your kids could even help you with this. 
  • Use them as weights – If you have a bunch of old screws and bolts lying around, they can get quite heavy. This makes for a great weight that you can use for a variety of purposes. You could put them in a box or a sock then when you need a weight as a doorstop or any of several other purposes, they will be readily available for you. 
  • Hang pictures – While you can’t necessarily use old nails for many of your building projects, they may still be plenty strong to hold up your pictures. This is a way to reuse your nails without having to spend money on new ones. 

In addition, there are many times when your old nails, screws, and bolts can be used once again in a construction project. 

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Furthermore, even nails can often be reused. However, the key is to make sure that when you take them out of the existing building material that you don’t bend them. 

Where To Recycle Nails, Screws, And Bolts?

As mentioned before, it is not easy to recycle old nails, screws, and bolts. 

However, if you have many of these items and you know they are made of steel or aluminum, you may be able to take them to a specialized recycling plant that can deal with scrap metal. 

Keep in mind though, that you should not just discard them in your recycling bin, as that will be the same as throwing them in the trash. 

Are Nails, Screws, And Bolts Bad For The Environment?

When used properly, these items are not bad for the environment. 

This is because they can be reused in so many different ways that it could be decades before a nail, screw, or bolt is ever discarded in its entirety. 

Therefore, this makes them a great option for a variety of building projects today, just as they have been throughout history.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on whether you can recycle Ziploc bags, whether you can recycle zip ties, and whether you can recycle butane cans.

Conclusion 

Now that you know what you can do with your old nails, screws, and bolts, you will know better how to discard them the next time the occasion arises. 

Furthermore, this will help you do your part to protect the environment from waste that clutters up landfills and does little to contribute to a sustainable future. 

Author

  • 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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