When it comes to recycling and properly disposing of waste materials, aluminum is often thrown away. What most people don’t know is that aluminum foils and trays are 100% recyclable this even included aluminum soda cans one just carelessly throws away.
So, why should one know how to dispose of aluminum foil? The reason is that people usually dispose of aluminum trays that are still contaminated with food and other items which are not acceptable for recycling. When aluminum objects end up in landfills and this easily reusable material then ends up taking around 400 years to even begin to break down.
Aluminum foil is recyclable. To recycle it, clean it, and crumble it into a ball. You can then put the aluminum ball into your recycle bin. This works for aluminum trays and packaging too. If the foil is attached to other material (like plastic or paper) it needs to be separated from the foil.
This is why learning how to dispose of aluminum foil properly and responsibly is crucial. We can help to avoid the contamination of Earth itself and contribute towards a greener and better tomorrow. In this article, we will discuss how to dispose of aluminum foil and how you can recycle them properly.
Why Is Properly Disposing Of Aluminum Necessary?
The fact that most people neglect is that aluminum objects such as furniture frames, cans, trays, etc., are very easy to recycle and reuse. In fact, their credibility for being recycled is the highest considering you can easily melt them back and turn them is brand new products.
The resources and energy required to recycle and reuse aluminum are lesser than creating aluminum pieces from scratch. Thus, the process of recycling aluminum is crucial for sustainable energy and resources.
Can I Put Aluminum Foil in the Recycle Bin?
Aluminum foil can be put right into your recycling bin as long as you take the following steps:
- Remove any paper or plastic from the foil
- Rinse it with hot water to remove food and grease
- Crumble the foil into a ball
- Put it into the recycling bin
Challenges With Recycling Aluminum Foil
While the aluminum is easy to recycle motto holds true for most cases, aluminum foil is a difficult part to tackle. The biggest challenge that comes with recycling aluminum foil is the contamination of food waste with it.
The grease and oils from the food latch onto the aluminum foil strongly, which can end up damaging the equipment used for recycling. This ends up making a low-grade product, which defeats the purpose of reusability. Thus, food-affected aluminum foils have to be thrown away as waste.
Is Aluminum Foil Biodegradable?
In general, aluminum foil is not biodegradable. If it’s put into a landfill and allowed to sit there, it will take up to 250 years to decompose. If recycling aluminum foil is an option in your area, you should always try to do that in order to limit the amount of waste going into landfills.
How Is Aluminum Foil Made?
Before we move on to the ways of recycling and reusing aluminum foil, you need to be aware of their composition. Aluminum comprises sheets of aluminum that have been rolled incredibly thin and delicately. Then that thin and delicate aluminum foil is wrapped around a tube of cardboard, which is a common method of distribution for aluminum foil.
With this process, over 7 billion containers of foiled aluminum are produced annually, which would amount to 220 containers for every single second. The first trace of aluminum foil being used can be found in candy wrappers from 1913.
Aluminum foil is an excellent heat conductor, and this is why it’s used predominantly in baking. If you happen to cover the dish with aluminum foil and leave it in the oven for baking, on taking the dish out, you will notice that the foil cools down much faster than any other utensil, which makes it easy to check up on the progress of your food.
While aluminum foil has gained its reputation through its uses in the kitchen, it is also vastly used in electronics, purposes of insulation, and even art and another decorative process. The uses of aluminum foil are countless, but their proper disposal is equally important.
How Do I Recycle Aluminum Foils and Trays?
In areas that accept aluminum foil as recyclable materials, you’ll have to clean the aluminum. Then crumple the aluminum foil completely before placing them directly inside the recycle container. This way, the recyclable materials are shipped to material recovery centers where the aluminum foil is picked out and sorted.
The aluminum foil is then sent to recyclers, where it’s used in making new cans and trays. This stream of recycling is known to be quick and easy as the process could take less than a month, and the recycled aluminum will be morphed into brand new metal cans and trays.
To clean your aluminum foil properly, you need to remove any food that’s stuck to it. If you rinse your aluminum foil with hot water, you may find that foil will be discolored, but that’s completely fine. However, if your foil is coated with grease or has food that can’t be removed, then you’ll have to throw it in the trash.
When placing the aluminum foil within the recycling bins, it is recommended that you follow a certain procedure. This includes crumpling up the pieces of aluminum sheets into a ball-like shape so that they don’t get stuck with any sort of machinery. In this case, do not make up tiny balls to throw away; instead, save up[ on the aluminum and crumple it all together to form a large sphere of aluminum measuring up to at least 2 inches with its diameter.
Is Aluminum Foil Toxic When Heated?
Aluminum foil is not considered to be toxic to humans. When it’s heated to a high enough temperature, it has the possibility of leaching small amounts of aluminum into your food. However, these levels aren’t high enough to cause harm.
Reusing Aluminum Foil
If you can’t find the option to recycle and dispose of your aluminum foil, the next best choice is to reuse them. Most of these objects are easily reusable. In fact, aluminum foil is safe to be used in dishwashers, so you can easily reuse it over and over again without the risk of damaging the foil itself.
You can even get creative and use some of these ideas to reuse the aluminum properly and find new uses for them around the house. This includes saving up on costs for new items and building a sustainable and healthy environment.
Getting Rid Of Grease and Oils Through Aluminum Foils
You can cut the costs of buying new steel wool pads and instead use your aluminum foil. To do so, scrunch up the old foil of aluminum into a shape that works best for you. Then continue to scrub thoroughly against surfaces that are layered with grease.
This works perfectly for greased pots and pans, grease on top of the stove, or even the ones on your grill. The aluminum will assist tremendously in getting rid of the grease in no time.
Getting Rid Of Static Cling Through Aluminum Foil
Sometimes the clothes straight out of the dryer have an eerie and frustrating static cling latched onto them. This is an absolutely dreadful situation.
However, you can easily reuse your aluminum waste to get rid of this feeling. You can do so by adding a small piece of aluminum foil alongside your clothes in the drier. The aluminum foil will attract all charges and eliminate the static cling effectively.
Protect Your Garden With The Help Of Aluminum Foil
Pests and Insects are a consistent problem for every garden owner, and keeping them away is an additional burden that requires a lot of money. One quick and almost cost-free of keeping them away is through the use of aluminum foils all around the base of the plant you’re aiming to protect.
You can even hang pieces of aluminum foil around your garden as a decorative piece. This reflective foreign material can scare off any insects and animals that are trying to get a taste of the fresh produce.
Protecting Your Silverware With Aluminum Foil
Foil can easily help to protect your silverware. The methods are simple and straightforward. All you need to do is lay all your silverware on pieces of aluminum foil, which helps to hinder the process of deterioration that normally occurs in silverware.
You can also refurbish your silverware that has been tarnished. All you need for that is a solution of baking soda and water that you can dip into with aluminum foil and thoroughly clean away all the built u on the silverware.
Aluminum Foil for Camping Trips
Aluminum foil is a great tool to have during camping trips. It can be used for waterproofing and protecting items from rains. You can easily wrap up your match sticks with aluminum to prevent them from getting wet and damp when you’re out for a camping trip in the woods.
You can use it for covering up food and heated objects as well to prevent the food from losing its heat and so on. Similarly, it works great for cooking purposes when you’re out in the foods and don’t really have a stove to cook on; just use your aluminum foil as your pan.
Buying Recycled Aluminum Foil
To help reduce the carbon footprint of the world, you can make sustainable choices on your behalf. This means exclusively shopping for retailers that sell 100 percent recycled aluminum foils. Some companies include You Care, Kirkland, and Reynolds.
By opting for recycled aluminum foils for your home and your businesses, you are saving the world from going into an era of pollution and littering. You can easily decrease the carbon footprint by making sustainable choices.
Alternatives to Aluminum Foil
One way to decrease the amount of aluminum foil waste we accumulate is by choosing and opting for alternative ways that are more sustainable in the long run. We can begin by finding alternative ways of covering dishes than using aluminum foils.
There are glass dishes available with their own covers, which can work perfectly in retaining heat. These Pyrex dishes are amazing for making pans of brownies and lasagna without using aluminum foil excessively.
You can also opt for Tupperware containers and other plastic containers and take them to delivery places and so on instead of opting for their foil-based packaging, which becomes difficult to reuse. These containers are heatproof and can help to contain foods for large amounts without contributing to the wastage of aluminum foils.
Using up cling film is much worse than opting for aluminum foil. If you thoroughly cleanse and rinse the aluminum foil in use, you can easily help yourself with applying all the methods of reusability of aluminum foil that we discussed earlier.
You can also opt for cardboard boxes to use for insulation. They keep the heat in and are easily degradable and recyclable without any issues. Using cardboard boxes will help to retain heat and also provide you with a sustainable choice. You normally see such boxes in takeout pizzas and so on.
Quick Review On How To Dispose Of Aluminum Foil
To dispose of the aluminum foil successfully, we have covered the most important steps. Here is a quick overview so you can effectively recycle and reuse your aluminum waste at home:
- Rinse off and thoroughly cleanse the residual food in your aluminum container. This includes trays and normal aluminum packing for other produce. Then proceed to crumple into spheres of nearly 2 inches diameter to make sure that they don’t interfere with the recycling equipment.
- In case your aluminum foil is drenched in meat juices, frosting, butter stains, and grease, the aluminum foil cannot be used and recycled. This is due to the fact these materials strictly adhere to the aluminum foil, making it difficult to remove and recycle. It’s best to throw them away as garbage only.
- There are some foods that have foil food seals, which can include tubs of margarine, yogurt, and even butter. It’s best to put them in the trash instead of the recycling bin. This is due to the fact that these metals are coated with plastic, which makes the bond hard to separate and recycle effectively.
We hope that through this article, you learned how to properly dispose of aluminum foil and ways you can use them around the house to reduce your carbon footprint. The wiser choices you make incorrectly disposing of materials, the best it is for the sustenance of the Earth.