How to Recycle Aluminum Foil

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Roll of aluminum foil.
Roll of aluminum foil. (Image: All images courtesy of Photobucket photo pool.)

It takes an incredible amount of energy to create a roll of aluminum foil. Recycling is a proactive way to reduce the toll on the environment. Unlike plastics, aluminum is able to be recycled over and over without compromising quality. It's the perfect recycle resource. There are a few steps to follow that can help reduce, reuse and recycle aluminum foil.

Things You'll Need

  • Mild dish cleaner
  • Recycling container

Add a mild dish-washing cleaner to warm water, and clean larger pieces of aluminum foil. Many times they are reusable if not used to contain raw meats.

Take all pieces of aluminum foil that are too damaged or dirty to reuse or recycle and wad them up into a ball. The next time you are in need of a steel wool pad to clean pots and pans, you are set. It saves money, gets pans sparkling clean and gets one last job out of that piece of aluminum.

Piece of aluminum foil that is not reusable and too dirty to recycle.
Piece of aluminum foil that is not reusable and too dirty to recycle.

Find recycling centers that will accept aluminum foil. Many are not able to handle foil that is extremely dirty and opt to simply not accept any. You will have to contact your local recycler to see if it's an option in your area. If your area does offer aluminum foil recycling, get the word out in your neighborhood. It's a great way to feel like you are doing your part to help the environment.

Check to see if your local recycler accepts aluminum.
Check to see if your local recycler accepts aluminum.

Remember to recycle cardboard juice containers. They are lined with aluminum and most often a forgotten source of this recyclable metal. The refrigerated cartons also contain an aluminum lining to keep the juice fresh.

Concentrate juice cannisters.
Concentrate juice cannisters.

Purchase recycled aluminum foil at the store. There are some brands that offer 100 percent recycled aluminum foil products. It's the best way to encourage further demand for recycling.

Tips & Warnings

  • Buy 100 percent recycled aluminum foil Add a capful of bleach to water to ensure all germs are killed before reusing foil. Rinse and dry thoroughly.
  • Do not reuse foil that has been used for storage of raw meats. Do not try to store foil that has a large amount of food debris on it. It will be too dirty to recycle and not safe to reuse.

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