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Recycling Used Aluminum Foil

2016-07-29

Aluminum is one of the best materials out there, because it is very versatile, can be used for many different applications and can be recycled infinite times. But there is one aluminum like material that many are confused about, because we are not sure if it is in fact aluminum and if it can be recycled like regular aluminum. This material is aluminum foil.

Like its name suggests, aluminum foil really is a form of aluminum. Moreover, aluminum foil is made from 100% aluminum, making it pure aluminum, just like the one that aluminum cans or other aluminum objects are made out of. That means that aluminum foil is also totally recyclable. However, not all aluminum recycling facilities accept aluminum. Why is that,? Well, let’s find out.

The beginnings of aluminum foil can be found around the end of 19th century, then a material known as tin emerged, which served as predecessor for aluminum foil. But tin foil didn’t last long, because around the first decade of 20th century, tin was slowly replaced by a more malleable and overall better material – aluminum, which also kick-started the process of using aluminum foil as popular packaging material.

The most common uses for aluminum foil is related to cooking. You usually use aluminum foil when you need to wrap up some food or cook something in the oven. Additionally, aluminum foil is a common material used in food packaging because a lot of stuff from chocolate to raw meat comes wrapped in aluminum foil and it is also pretty commonly used in different cosmetic and hygiene product packaging. But because aluminum foil is such a popular packaging material, especially for food and other substances and those substances tend to stain and leave residue on the foil, many aluminum recycling facilities are quick to refuse collecting aluminum foil with the other aluminum objects.

Aluminum recycling plants are made so that the aluminum is melted down, which means that all paper traces get burned in the process, which is why aluminum recycling facilities don’t bother to peel off labels of cans and such. However, it is a different story with traces of foods, sauces, creams and so on. Usually, the particles of these substances cannot be fully burned so there is a chance that they can contaminate the whole aluminum recycling plant, doing a lot of damage to the company that owns it.

Then how can you recycle your aluminum foil? Generally speaking, there are two ways to do it. Firstly, you can make sure that you thoroughly wash all of the aluminum foil before throwing it into the recycling bin. And then when you bring this aluminum to the recycling plant you can assure the recyclers won’t contaminate their recycling process. On the other hand, the best way to recycle aluminum foil is to find aluminum recycling facilities, which specially state that they do recycle aluminum foil. There aren’t that many of them out there, but there are a few that emphasize that they accept aluminum foil, making it easier for all of us to live greener lives.