Recycle Aluminum Foil

Next time you get ready to ball up aluminum foil and throw it in the trash, make sure to recycle it.  Better yet, why not get more use out of it by cleaning it off and reusing it.  Either way, don’t let it go to waste and end up in a landfill.

Aluminum Foil
Photo by clevergrrl.

What makes recycling aluminum so important is that fact that it is so much more difficult to make it from it’s bare materials, bauxite ore.  Constructing it from recycle materials uses 95% less energy, saving equivalent to watching TV for 3 hours. This along with the fact that it can easily be recycled makes it that much more important that we try to recycle as much aluminum as possible.  We do recycle a decent portion of our aluminum, but most of that comes in the form of cans and not foil.  One main reason is that some recyclers don’t like recycling aluminum foil is that it is much dirtier than cans.  This just means that we have to be a little more diligent and clean the foil before we recycle it.

If you find out that your local recycling center does not take foil, you can still always reuse the foil.  By cleaning it and allowing it to dry, it can still be used for many things.  Depending on its initial use will determine what you can use it reuse it for.  If you use it on the grill, it may tough to use it for food again.  Planet Green has a great list reuses for aluminum foil that are not related to food at all.  Get creative and don’t let it go to waste when you can get more uses out of it.

Of course whenever you reuse an item, you can really save some money by using what you would normally throw out.  Seeing how expensive aluminum foil can be, it really makes more sense to get as much use out of it especially if it is for non-food purposes.  Why use a fresh sheet of foil when all you are going to do is cover a burner on your stove?

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Comments

  1. I am not doing as much as some people to “go green,” but I’m trying. My mother, who went through the Great Depression, was a saver and a re-user. I am not. However, I have become more conscious of the need to conserve. Today I washed out a zip-lock baggie that had contained cookies. Thought I would re-use it! What do you re-use?

  2. I think (guess) the 95% number you use is a generic recycling number and not specific for aluminum foil. I used to live in the northwest and the aluminum plants used massive amounts of energy because it has such a high melting point. My guess it’s more like 99% cheaper to recycle it.

    • Pays to Live Green
    • May 7th, 2009

    That was from Earth911. I’m not sure if that figure was more of a ball park or the actual percentage. I have only seen aluminum plants at work on TV. From what I saw though, I wouldn’t be surprised me either if your 99% was closer to the actual figure.

  3. Humm I guess I fail. I have been throwing away my aluminum foil in the regular garbage, but… not anymore!!!! After this post, that’s going to change!!! wooohooo :)

    Till then,

    Jean

  4. It’s striking to me that creating aluminum foil from recycled materials takes 95% less energy. Thank you for this article!

    I also read about an innovative approach that involves converting energy from turning prayer wheels into electricity that can power homes and street lights: http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-7312-Miami-Interfaith-Spirituality-Examiner~y2009m5d8-Prayer-as-an-alternative-energy-source-to-power-homes-and-street-lights7.

    This is a great site; I added it to my favorites!

    Thanks,
    Dr. Deb

  5. I actualy use very little aluminum foil now. I like keeping things in containers and do not eat much i would heat in it. I can see your point it is one thing that most towns do not recycle and they should.

    • Anneliese Polins
    • October 16th, 2009

    I love you “r going green how ever why don’t you make smaller roll
    I mean smaller in width .I waist a lot of foil on my smaller top’s such as pot’s and bowls.

    • Eric
    • August 7th, 2010

    “massive amounts of energy because it has such a high melting point”

    That is incorrect if you mean aluminum by “it”. The huge amounts of electricity are needed during the proces of electrolysis of molten aluminum compounds. Those compounds are not aluminum yet. People’s knowledge of electrochemistry is usually very limited or non-existent :-).

    Going green: as if it were something special. Human primates are a weird species :-). Human primates are a virus to this planet and should stop reproducing. The way we impose our convictions onto other living organisms is pathological. We are so convinced of the truth of our own thoughts that only one thing remains: huge numbers of humans will inevitably be killed by the planet.

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