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Because You Asked

Because You Asked: Can Foil Yogurt Lids Be Recycled?

By Recyclebank |
You certainly should recycle aluminum, but do foil lids work in your MRF’s process? Here are some things to know before putting them in the recycling.

Dear Recyclebank: Can you recycle aluminum yogurt caps? –Diane H.

Dear Diane: Aluminum is incredibly well suited to being recycled, and given that doing so saves 92% of the energy it would require to create new products from virgin aluminum ore, it’s absolutely worth the effort. However, as with other materials, the form it comes in can affect a recycling handler’s ability to process it. Because foil is so frequently contaminated by food, not all facilities will accept it. It’s also thin and flexible, which can cause problems with certain recycling machinery. Check your city’s restrictions before you add your foil to the recycling pile.

All that said, the foil lids on yogurt are subject to the same recycling restrictions as other aluminum foil, provided they haven’t been lined or coated with any other materials. As with anything you put in your recycling, these foil lids must be thoroughly rinsed and cleaned of food waste. Traces of that delicious Greek yogurt spell bad news for a batch of recycling. Also consider saving your lids and crumpling them together into a ball: This will help ensure they don’t get caught in machinery or oxidize immediately during the recycling process.

If your area doesn’t recycle foil, or if you’re just concerned about excess waste, try buying your yogurt in larger plastic tubs. You can portion out your servings in bowls or reusable containers such as Tupperware. Buying in bulk for things you use often helps reduce waste, and there’s a good chance you’ll save money doing it. Plus, using up fewer individual containers (and therefore resources) is a better bet for the environment. Once you’ve finished all of the yogurt from a larger tub, both it and its lid might also be able to be recycled. Either way, the fewer individual containers you purchase, the better.

SOURCES: The Aluminum Association, The Charlotte Observer, Ecotrope

Does your city accept aluminum foil for recycling? Let us know in the comments.
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  • Susan S. 27 days ago
    The Dallas suburb where I live is very resistant to anything regarding ecology, energy saving, green, composting, backyard gardening, no-chemical lawncare or gardening of any kind, rainwater harvesting, you name it, they are either against it completely and will fine you heavily if you do so and get caught, but even citywide recycling took decades to get even the most minimal plan to happen; everything else happens at the speed of a glacier. But regarding aluminum, specifically aluminum foil, yes the list says yes - however it cannot have even one molecule of any food or cooking oil, or any other edible on it. So in practical terms, no. Personally I do not use aluminum foil and haven't since around 1980 for personal/health reasons, so it is a non-issue from this house.

    One thing I've never been given a reasonable anser to is, if we are required to scrupulously clean and dry every aluminum foil piece and metal food can, and plastic bottle or other container [like the uber-lazy are EVER gonna do all THAT, LOL], what do we really save by recycling, if we have to wash our recycle-ables, and thereby spend precious natural resources such as potable water to do so?

    Catch-22 perhaps?
  • Adaria J. 27 days ago
    Yes
  • Dawn B. 28 days ago
    Our town accepts aluminum foil
  • Barbara C. 28 days ago
    Our town recycles foil. I save a week's worth of lids and turn them into a foil ball.
  • Karen B. 28 days ago
    Clean them. Roll them into a ball.
    • Karr C. 19 days ago
      does licking them count as cleaning them? LOL, it is very confusing we thought we were doing the right thing but it does get confusing. We now have much less garbage than recycling but now I have been worried in half of my recycling is ending up in the landfill anyway.
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