Here it is, Merry Christmas, everybody’s having fun! They are also having delicious mince pies, scrummy roast potatoes and all manner of oven-baked party treats. And guess what material is getting an above average outing during this busy, festive holiday? That’s right, aluminium.
UK households use an average of 182 foil trays a year and you can bet that most of these are used over the festive period, so it’s really important to remember that they can be recycled alongside other food and drink packaging.
The good news is that recycling aluminium foil trays is very easy indeed. Simply scrape any excess food into the bin and, if necessary, give the tray a wipe with a piece of kitchen roll to remove excess grease or dunk in at the end of the washing up water to rinse off any residue, like sauce. They don’t have to be spotless, but bear in mind if you don’t remove food from trays off before recycling them then not only will your bin start to develop a funky smell, you will also be inhibiting a smooth and efficient recycling process: Your leftovers contaminate other recyclable items and can clog up the machinery that does all the work at your local recycling centre and further on during the recycling process.
Your efforts are well worth it! The aluminium can be quickly melted down and used to make all sorts of metal products, like engine parts (or more mince pie trays…). The recycling process saves up to 95% of the energy needed to make metal from raw materials, and the metal can be recycled forever – so just recycling one tray can make a big difference.
Our 5 Point Recycling Reminder
- Check out our your local council website – you might find you already have a doorstep recycling program suitable for aluminium trays. Or there might be foil banks at supermarkets and recycling centres.
- If you have access to a kerbside service then just pop the cleaned trays in the recycling box, bag or bin along with other cans, tins and recyclables.
- Your local council website will probably have the locations of foil banks (and other useful recycling resources and advice). All you need to is store them for a while until the next time you’re passing.
- Try the Recycle Now recycling locator, it’s very easy to use and will help you find all your nearest recycle points.
- Take a look at our own recycling map locator to find local recycling options.
It’s not just in the kitchen that you need to think about recycling! All those lovely smellies you got from Santa often come with a variety of aerosols (deodorants, body sprays and so on). Once they are empty they can all be recycled as part of your regular recycling service.
Just make sure they are fully empty before you recycle, remove plastic tops and caps (you can leave the trigger on, otherwise known as the actuator) and remember not to pierce or squash them.
Did you know, we use an average of 12m of aluminium foil every month in the typical UK household? That’s a lot of foil, and when there are turkeys, ham and all manner of festive delicacies to be roasted and stored, there’s rather a lot of it used at this time of year.
Once the food residue has been wiped or rinsed then it can be scrunched into a ball and put into the recycling along with your food and drink cans and clean foil trays. Remember that if it doesn’t stay scrunched in a ball, but springs back open, then it’s not aluminium foil, but non-recyclable plastic film which is not recyclable so has to go in the rubbish bin. (The same goes for foil-like wrapping paper).
Don’t forget that it’s not just the foil you use for cooking that can be recycled! Foil is also used to wrap sweets and treats – build a ball out of the wrappings then put them in the recycling; but don’t mistake metallic-looking crisp packets or some sweet wrappers for aluminium foil – do the scrunch test! If it doesn’t scrunch it can’t be recycled and has to go in the bin.
It’s easy to think that all shiny, metallic products such as tinsel and foil gift wrap are recyclable aluminium foil too, but they’re not, they’re plastic, and if they get into the recycling process they can cause problems so leave them out of the recycling!
And finally, we’d like to give a special festive mention to Nespresso: We reckon a fair few of those will be accompanying mince pies and finishing tasty meals over the next couple of weeks and they are in fact fully recyclable because they’re made of aluminium! You can order special recycle bags from Nespresso themselves and the aluminium is recycled along with the used coffee grounds becoming compost!
Let’s look forward to a positive New Year, and that the good habits you’ve learnt over the festive season last long into the new year – and beyond!