Tin is a material we see frequently here at Encore Recyclers in Garland, but it’s also something that confuses a lot of people in the scrap industry. Luckily, we have all the answers regarding tin right here on our blog.
The name “tin” is misleading. Almost any “tin” material you’ll find at Encore or any other Garland scrap metal recycler isn’t the element tin, but actually very thin strips of steel.
But What About Tin Cans?
Yes, tin was historically used in tin cans, which were ubiquitous in much of the 19th and 20th centuries. However, even these cans were not actually made of tin.
Most often, they were made of steel, which was then covered (or plated) with tin. The reason for this is simple: tin does not corrode, but steel (especially cheaper, lower grade steel) does. It was cheaper for the canning industry to make cheap steel cans, then coat them with tin to make them weather-resistant.
This advancement of engineering was important to both the military (which used tin cans to feed soldiers on the move) and to the rise of major industry and mass production more generally.
Today, most “tin cans” of soup, beverages, and other canned goods are primarily made of aluminum.