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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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  • Edmund M. 1 year ago
    Aluminum melts at 1221 degrees F. When aluminum is recycled it must be melted to be reformed, and in that process little if any contaminating material survives. So lining or coating of the metal makes no difference at all in the recycling of aluminum cans, yogurt lids or anything else. The reason the lids and cans should be rinsed and cleaned it hygiene and care for the people who work in recycling facilities. They don't deserve having to work with stinky, possibly disease contaminated materials. Other than that, cans, yogurt (and other) lids, wine bottle twist-offs, wine bottle neck collars (those that aren't plastic) and the like are recyclable. The lids and caps and other such material should be saved by the consumer until a large-ish mass is accumulated. Be sure the recycler (trash hauler or similar) will take balled-up aluminum in the stream. You should also be able to recycle aluminum siding, gutters, storm window frames, and lawn furniture.
  • ALEX R. 1 year ago
    Just think. If we threw all of our trash in our backayrds, it will change the way we dispose of things and recycle more. It is surprising how much trash we produce erry single day.
  • Chris G. 1 year ago
    One day we will be able to recycle 90% of our garbage like Europe does. I hope I live to see it.
  • Lija W. 1 year ago
    I'm not here for the points, I'm here to learn how to get closer to zero waste. The points are nice, though. Thank you.
  • chloe d. 1 year 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
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