How to Recycle Aluminum Foil
Foil is made from the same material as soda cans (aluminum), but since it’s most often contaminated with food waste or combined with plastic (like with yogurt tops), there’s no guarantee you can recycle it with your aluminum cans.
Aluminum Foil Recycling Preparation
- You want to make sure that aluminum foil is as clean as possible before recycling. While burns and holes won’t affect the recycling market, you’ll want to remove any meats or sauces from the foil.
- If you’re recycling aluminum foil that you bought and used for storage, separate the foil from the paperboard box and corrugated tube before recycling.
- If foil is combined with other materials (such as in drink boxes, candy wrappers and yogurt tops) and can’t be separated, you’ll want to throw it away. Foil mixed with other materials is considered recycling contamination.
- Combine all sheets of foil into one ball. This will keep the material easily separated from other products, and also prevent it from blowing away (aluminum foil is a very light material).
- Use Earth911’s recycling directory to find an aluminum foil recycler.
Why Recycle Aluminum Foil
- Aluminum is one of the highest-value materials you can recycle, and it can be reprocessed into new aluminum in just 60 days
- Nearly 75 percent of aluminum produced in the U.S. is still being used
Americans dispose of enough aluminum foil annually to build an entire aircraft fleet.
Frequent Aluminum Foil Recycling Questions
- 3 Great Tips for Sustainable Food Storage: Consider some alternative food storage products to aluminum foil to increase your kitchen sustainability
- Reusable Replacements: Never Use Foil or Plastic Wrap Again: Ideas for how to limit the amount of plastic foil you consume
- The 5 Weirdest Things You Can Recycle Through Terracycle: Mail-in company Terracycle offers recycling for foil products you’ll have difficulty recycling at home, such as drink boxes and wine foil