What can I recycle?
It’s not just cans – Kitchen foil, foil trays and bottle tops are also made of recyclable aluminium.
We’re all familiar with drinks can recycling. In fact, the rate for recycling aluminium cans in 2016 was 54%. This figure is set to rise further as recycling becomes the norm not just at home, but at work and ‘on the go’ as well.
But did you know that you can also recycle other products that are packaged using aluminium? Here’s what and how you can recycle:
Drinks cans – soft drinks/beer cans, please make sure they are empty.
Foil trays – ready meals, quiche and pie trays and pet food trays: Please empty and rinse them (a dunk in the washing up bowl should be sufficient) or wipe them clean before recycling
– aluminium screw caps, found on bottles of wines, spirits and cooking ingredients: Please screw them back on the empty bottle before recycling at a bring bank. You can find your nearest bring bank by click here.
Wrapping foil – used for cooking/sandwich wrapping, please make sure the foil is wiped clean and free from most food residue.
Each recovery operator now collects all of these materials for recycling.
Some other types of aluminium packaging are not always collected by recovery operators, this includes coffee capsules (e.g. Nespresso). Some items that appear to be aluminium are bonded or laminated with other materials, e.g. paper or plastic used in some wraps, cartons and medical packaging. At the moment the technology to recycle these ‘composite’ packs isn’t available, or isn’t commercially viable; but where this material ends up in an energy from waste plant the aluminium can be extracted from the bottom ash and recycled again.
All aluminium is endlessly recyclable but not all types can be collected from the kerbside. Please take any other aluminium items to be recycled at your local civic amenity site (‘the tip’) such as aerosols, bikes, garden tools, pots/pans and empty paint tins. .
Not all packaging that looks like aluminium foil actually is – some wrappers and crisp packets are actually metallised plastic film and cannot be recycled as foil.
To check if it’s aluminium, do the ‘scrunch’ test or watch our simple video here:
Scrunch the foil in your hand – if it stays squashed in a ball it is foil and can be added to your recycling. If it bounces back open it is plastic and needs to go in the rubbish bin.
Please rinse foil trays before recycling to remove food residue. This reduces smells and prevents other materials in the recycling becoming contaminated and attracting pests. To save water, trays can be rinsed at the end of the washing up.