Sustainability made simple

Aluminum Foil Is Recyclable: Here’s How It’s Done

is aluminum foil recyclable
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / LUM3N

Is aluminum foil recyclable? Yes! But it should be done properly. We'll share some practical tips on how to recycle aluminum foil to help you shrink your carbon footprint.

Make sure your aluminum foil is clean before you recycle it.
Make sure your aluminum foil is clean before you recycle it.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / RitaE)

Aluminum foil is recyclable. The Aluminum Association states that around 75% of all aluminum foil that is produced in the US is still being used today. However, recycling aluminum foil is not as straightforward as throwing it in the recycling bin. Use these practical tips to avoid unnecessary waste and ensure you are doing your part to recycle properly. 

1. Make Sure It’s Clean 

The main thing that aluminum foil is used for in households is for wrapping your food. This means it will probably be dirty after it’s used, which is a problem for the recycling centers. Many of them will not accept foil in this state because it can contaminate other items for recycling. So before you place your used aluminum foil in your curbside recycling bin, give it a good rinse to remove all traces of food and sauces. 

2. Separate It

If your aluminum foil came as part of another container—like a drink carton or a paper lunch box—you will need to separate the materials before putting them in the recycling bin. If you cannot separate the foil, then it cannot be recycled and will have to be thrown away.

3. Scrunch It into a Ball

Before sending your recycling bin to the curb, combine all your sheets of aluminum foil into a ball. This will help the sorters at the recycling center to differentiate between the items. It will also stop aluminum foil from blowing away in the wind and becoming litter. 

Read on: Zero Waste Kitchen: 8 Steps to Producing Less Trash

How to Reuse and Repurpose Aluminum Foil

Did you know that you can reuse aluminum foil to sharpen scissors?
Did you know that you can reuse aluminum foil to sharpen scissors?
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / candoyi)

The awesome thing about aluminum foil is that it can be used time and time again. Before you throw it in the recycling bin, consider giving it another life by reusing or repurposing the foil. Try out these useful and crafty ways to reuse aluminum foil that will reduce waste even more than sending aluminum foil straight to the recycling center: 

  • Reuse It: Did you know that aluminum foil is dishwasher safe? Simply give the foil a good clean, flatten it out and continue using it to package your lunch or cover your casserole.
  • Sharpen Your Scissors: Fold your used aluminum foil into a square and cut it several times. This will sharpen the blunt edges of your scissors.
  • Grill and Oven Scrubber: Scrunch the aluminum foil into a ball and use it to remove any grease and dirt left on your grill or in your oven. 
  • Keep Your Silverware Shiny: Place a layer of aluminum foil under your silverware to help keep it shiny for longer.
  • Protect Your Plants: If your plants are getting attacked by pesky insects, then deter them away by making an aluminum foil collar for the base of your plant.
  • Soften Brown Sugar: Forgot about your brown sugar at the back of the cupboard which has clumped together and is now a sugar-brick? Wrap it in aluminum foil and place it in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit until it breaks up. 

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