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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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  • chloe d. 2 hours ago
    if you could give free points every day that would be nice but i’ve done so many quizzes and arrivals and i’m still not getting my points
  • Dennis K. 8 days ago
    give some rewards that the average could use with a family daily, plus free would b nice with correct number of points, just saying
  • Julia P. 24 days ago
    What about foil candy wrappers, like the foil that goes around a chocolate bar. It is less stiff than aluminum foil, which makes me wonder if it is strictly foil.
    • Marc M. 24 days ago
      Most candy wrappers are plastic but some are thin aluminum foil like Hershey's Kisses and Lindor Chocolate Truffles wrappers. The aluminum ones can be recycled but, because they are small, should be balled up with other aluminum foil before they go in the recycling so that the facility can process them and they don't end up in landfill.
  • Barry K. 27 days ago
    I see that no one has posted a comment in 2 years. That shows you how much interest there is.
    I just threw out a Jennie o turkey container. Search all over for a recycle symbol. None there. I see this all the time. I am going to start calling the manufacturer and ask why no recycle symbol. Let you know what happens.
  • Courtney J. 1 month ago
    Protip for skincare enthusiasts: you can use your yogurt foil to cover up your actives in clear/semi-clear bottles. Sunlight or any light in general dramatically reduces the strength of your serums in time.
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