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Because You Asked

Is Aluminum Foil Recyclable?

By Recyclebank |

Aluminum cans are one of the most recycled materials, so there’s no reason why aluminum foil shouldn’t be as well — right?

Dear Recyclebank: Can I recycle aluminum foil? –Linda W.


Dear Linda: Aluminum itself is one of the most recyclable — and indeed, one of the most recycled — materials around. According to the Aluminum Association, nearly 75 percent of all the aluminum produced in the US is still in use today, thanks to recycling efforts and the fact that it can be recycled again and again without its quality diminishing.


While most recycled aluminum is in the form of cans, aluminum foil is technically recyclable, but there’s a catch: It needs to be clean — that is, free of food residue, as grease or food residue can contaminate the other recyclables during the recycling process. In part because of the issues with contamination, and the reality that most people are unlikely to rinse their aluminum foil before recycling it, some waste haulers will not accept aluminum foil for recycling; the damage soiled aluminum foil does to other recyclables can outweigh the benefit of trying to recycle the aluminum foil.


Before you put your foil in the recycling bin, make sure your local recycling program accepts it; not all of them do. Incidentally, usually if foil is accepted, disposable aluminum baking pans also will be. Just be sure to only recycle aluminum foil that is clean, even if it means rinsing it off first. (And as long as you’re cleaning it, you might as well reuse it a couple of times first!)


If you are able to recycle your aluminum foil locally, pat yourself on the back: Recycled aluminum saves more than 90 percent of the energy needed to produce virgin aluminum, and it’s one of the most valuable recyclable materials. Its recycling lifecycle is also relatively quick: An aluminum can that’s put in a recycling bin can be back on the shelves, as another can, in as little as two months. You can even buy aluminum foil that is made of recycled aluminum.


If you’re not ready yet to relegate aluminum foil to the recycling bin or the trash can, you might be able to give clean pieces another life — there are other uses for aluminum foil besides wrapping up leftovers.



Sources: Aluminum Association



Do you recycle your aluminum foil, or have you found other uses for it? Share your tips in the comments below.

Share with Your Friends & Family
  • Diane T. 10 days ago
    Hello everyone! Happy Thanksgiving!
  • Barbara W. 11 days ago
    Since the 404"s are so common lately ( and the bot appears to be on vacation) should we invite the bot for Thanksgiving dinner? We could serve him some of those "rusty cans" from the other article and have a toast with some used cooking oil! ahahaa
  • Barbara W. 11 days ago
    Have a great meal with family, friends, or community dinner. Be SURE to Thank the Host/ Hostess and ask what you can do to help!
  • Barbara W. 11 days ago
    I just found out that the new Local Soup kitchen is serving a Turkey dinner --with real turkey!
    One of the churches does a dinner also , But it's Not real turkey, I can verify that .(rumors say it's some generic jail meat).????
  • Steven S. 11 days ago
    Posted Wednesday, November 24,2021! Pre thanksgiving day for the US!

    back from 404 errors Monday and Tuesday, November 22, 23, 2021
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