Are you recycling your leftover foil?

November 12, 2019

We often think we are recycling as much as we can, but a report by Leicester City Council showed that of all the aluminium foil being thrown away by its residents, only 20 per cent of it was making its way into the recycling and the rest was going straight in the bin!

The council has now teamed up with Alupro – the aluminium packaging recycling organisation – to spread the word and help residents to recycle more of their aluminium foil trays and wrapping foil, in the hope that they’ll ‘Foil in Love with Recycling’.

Aluminium is a valuable resource that we use not just for foil and drinks cans, but also electronics, including smartphones, kitchen appliances, even aeroplanes – in fact, the foil thrown away in the city each year is enough to build three commercial aeroplanes.

All of the Leicestershire’s county and city councils can recycle clean foil, so here are some tips to make it easy at home, and recycle as much as possible:

  • Many kinds of foil can be recycled, such as kitchen foil, takeaway containers, pie trays, chocolate wrapping (including coins) and coloured foil.
  • A simple way to test if a material is recyclable foil or not is to do the ‘scrunch test’. If it stays ‘scrunched’ then it’s aluminium foil and can be recycled. If it springs back, it’s metallised plastic film and cannot currently be recycled.
  • Make sure foil is free from food residue by giving a quick wipe or rinse in your washing up bowl before you pop it into your recycling.
  • For smaller pieces of foil – such as yogurt lids or chocolate foil – please scrunch these together to make a larger ball of foil, about the size of a tennis ball. This will keep the foil together and make it easier to recycle as the machinery detects it better (and it’s also quite satisfying to watch it grow).

Aluminium foil is endlessly recyclable and can be reformed into thousands of different items without the need for any new material. Making products from recycled aluminium uses only five per cent of the energy it takes to make new foil from raw materials.

Alupro are working to help meet the aluminium packaging industry’s obligation to achieve and exceed recycling rates for aluminium packaging, currently set for 70 per cent by 2020.